Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Red Snapper Fra Diavalo with Fusilli Pasta

“Fra Diavalo” has always been one of my favorite Italian sauces.  The name actually translates to “Devils Brother” referring to its extreme spiciness.  The first time I can remember eating anything with a Fra Diavalo sauce was many years ago.  I was twenty, living in New York City and working in the Liquor Industry.  My Dad called me on the phone one evening, from San Francisco, and told me I had to go to a restaurant called Grotto Azzurra, in Greenwich Village, at my first opportunity, and order the Lobster Fra Diavalo.  Being the obedient son that I was, I went the following evening.

The restaurant was in the basement of a building on Broome Street.  Blue Neon lights pointed the way downstairs. Upon entering I asked the Maître’D if the Lobster Fra Diavalo was on the menu that night and he assured me that it was.  As a matter of fact, it was the only item on the menu with no price.  No matter, I had been told by my father that my dinner that night was “on him”.  My favorite words.

When the plate was presented at the table I was totally awed by the size of the Lobster.  He was falling off both sides of an extremely large oval platter.  Oh, I seem to remember there was a little pasta on the side as well.  

Red Snapper Fra Diavalo
A few weeks ago Judy prepared a virtually fat-free version of Fra Diavalo with Red Snapper served over Whole Wheat Fusilli Pasta. It took me right back to that extraordinary night in the Village so many, many, many years ago. Delicious!

Red Snapper Fra Diavalo  


8 oz Multi-grain or Whole Wheat Fusilli Pasta

1 tsp Olive Oil

1 medium Red Onion, coarsely chopped

1 medium Red Pepper, cut into ½-inch pieces.

3 cloves Garlic, chopped (it wouldn’t kill you to add a few more cloves if you like garlic like I do)

¼ tsp crushed red pepper (seriously, go for the gusto and double, or triple this item)

½ cup Fat-Free Marinara Sauce (one day I’ll tell you the story about the marinara sauce at Ristorante Don Giovanni in Manchester, England. You’ve never had anything like it, trust me)

14½ oz Italian style diced tomatoes, canned

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

1 pound Red Snapper, fresh, cut into 1-inch chunks

¼ cup basil, fresh, chiffanade for garnish.


Heat large saucepan of water to boiling, add pasta, and cook to Al Dente, per instructions on pasta package label.

Meanwhile, in a non-stick 4 quart (or larger) saucepan, heat Olive Oil over medium heat. Add Onion and Red Pepper and cook 8 – 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally.  Stir in garlic and crushed red pepper; cook about 1 minute.

Stir in Marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, and ½ teaspoon salt; heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add Red Snapper Chunks to sauce, pressing down with the back of a spoon to submerge the fish into the sauce. Cover and cook over medium heat about 6 minutes or until the Snapper is cooked through.

To serve; drain the pasta well and place in 4 large shallow bowls; top with Snapper and Sauce.

Garnish with basil. Enjoy!!

Cod may be substituted for Red Snapper.

Yields 4 servings. PointsPlus Value per serving is 9. Difficulty level is Easy. Prep time is 15 minutes. Cooking time is 25 minutes.

Note: Grotto Azzurra is still located on Broome St. (Mulberry St) in the Village and Lobster Fra Diavalo is still listed at "Market Price". 

Photo by Barry Baruh

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