Sunday, April 15, 2018

Giada's Spicy Calabrian Shrimp

On one of my visits to Target I spotted Giada's latest cookbook, Giada's Italy. I didn't even hesitate. I just put it directly into my shopping cart. I am in love with everything about this cookbook, starting with the cover, the recipes, the gorgeous photos of Italy, and the stories Giada shares about her time in Italy. It is probably one of my favorite Giada cookbooks!

For now, I chose the recipe with the ingredient I've been wanting to cook with for ages: Calabrian chili peppers! Those darn peppers, and the Calabrian chili paste, are hard to find! I finally spotted some of the Calabrian chili peppers at my market and I knew right away I would make this recipe for Spicy Calabrian Shrimp.

Calabrian chili peppers are from the Calabrian region of Italy, which is known for it's hot peppers. These peppers are of a medium heat and can also be referred to as red cherry peppers or devil's kiss peppers. For comparison, Giada refers to Calabrian Chili Paste as the Italian version of sriracha and I think that is a fairly accurate comparison.

I couldn't source the paste, so I looked up the description of Calabrian Chili Paste and saw that it was a combination of Calabrian peppers and oil. My Calabrian chili peppers were packed in a jar with oil so I decided to make my own paste by dicing up the peppers, along with some of their oil, and using the back of my knife to create a paste.

In this recipe, the Calabrian Chili Paste is mixed with Parmigiano-Reggiano, olive oil, lemon zest, salt, and oregano to create a marinade for the shrimp.  You simply bake the shrimp for about 8 minutes. This was the perfect amount of time because my shrimp were perfectly cooked! All that's left is to sprinkle some lemon juice and basil over the top and you have one amazing appetizer or main course!

Skeptics will question the heavy hand of Parmigiano-Reggiano, but trust me it totally works! I baked my shrimp in a cast iron skillet and the cheese just oozed and melted over the shrimp creating somewhat of a crust (if you look close in the pics you can see). I loved the spiciness of the Calabrian peppers - they can in fact be quite spicy! I absolutely loved this dish and will be making it again this week.  I will admit that I did miss the garlic in this recipe and will definitely be adding a clove, or two, the next time around! Give this a try. Shrimp lovers will love this recipe!!

Spicy Calabrian Shrimp
Adapted from Giada's Italy
Serves 4 to 6

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Calabrian chile paste
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teasoon dried oregano
salt, to taste
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
High suggest/but optional: one or two cloves of garlic*

Note:  This is a wonderful recipe and while some people will bulk at the idea of adding cheese to shrimp, I will say that I really enjoyed it and would highly suggest it! I definitely suggest adding one or two cloves of minced garlic to the marinade. There is no garlic and this recipe and I did miss it!

Preheat the oven to 425F. 

In a medium bowl,whisk together the Parmigiano-Reggiano, olive oil, chile paste, lemon zest, oregano, and salt. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Allow the shrimp to marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature.

Spread the shrimp evenly on a rimmed baking sheet (or cast iron skillet) and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink and opaque all the way through. Sprinkle the lemon juice and basil over the shrimp. Serve immediately.

Theme: Healthy and Delicious!


  1. Shrimp seems to be a popular pick this week. I love Giada's cooking. Spicy does not agree with me so I would probably not like this recipe but it looks good.

  2. If you like shrimp, it's hard not to enjoy a recipe like this. Delish!

  3. Oh I'll bet those peppers just sang with the parmesan and shrimp! Pretty bowl, I want to dive right in.

  4. Too much parmigiano?! Not a thing! That spicy marinade sounds so delicious. What a perfect quick and easy meal.


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