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This is a sexy, date-night dish. There is something so exciting about the sweetness of shrimp combined with the slightly painful, sweaty burn of chilies and the after-burn of good sherry. Eat by candlelight when possible. (For 2 people, date-night, cut the amounts in this recipe by half.)


  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, deveined, tails on
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 large shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 small dried or fresh red chilies, finely chopped or fresh peppers thinly sliced or 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • A handful parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 28- to 32-ounce can D.O.P. tomatoes, crushed by hand and their juice
  • A few leaves of basil, torn
  • 1 pound linguine or thin linguine


Serves: 4


Bring a large pot of water to a boil for pasta. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. Wait for oil to smoke then add half the shrimp and lightly brown but do not cook all the way through, 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove and repeat, then toss with lemon juice and reserve the shrimp. Add a little more oil to the pan and the shallots or onions, garlic, thyme, chilies, salt and pepper. Swirl and stir 2-3 minutes then deglaze with sherry, reduce 1 minute then add butter and melt. Add parsley, tomatoes, basil and reduce heat to low. Simmer sauce 10-12 minutes to cook down tomatoes. Cook pasta to al dente, adding shrimp to sauce after 5 minutes to let it finish cooking through. Add half a cup starchy liquid to sauce, drain pasta and toss with shrimp and sauce 1 minute, serve in shallow bowls.