- 1 pound medium-large shrimp (31 to 35 count), peeled & deveined, Gulf or Mexican Whites preferably
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
- 4 tablespoons minced garlic (about 12 medium or 8 large cloves)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 cup medium-dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
- 1 pound linguine or spaghetti
Step 1: Bring 4 quarts of water to rolling boil, covered, in large Dutch oven or stockpot.
Step 2: While water is heating, heat 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, toss shrimp, half of red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Add shrimp to skillet and quickly spread in single layer; cook, without stirring, until bottoms of shrimp turn spotty brown, about 30 seconds. Off heat, stir to turn shrimp, add Cognac; let stand off heat until Cognac warms slightly, about 5 seconds, and return pan to high heat. Wave lit match over skillet until Cognac ignites; shake skillet until flames subside, transfer shrimp to medium bowl, and set aside.
Step 3: Off heat, cool now-empty skillet 2 minutes; return to burner and reduce heat to low. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until garlic foams and is sticky and straw-colored, 7 to 10 minutes. Add remaining red pepper flakes, 3/4 teaspoon salt, sugar, tomatoes, and wine; increase heat to medium-high, and simmer until thickened and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Stir in reserved shrimp and accumulated juices, remaining 1 tablespoon garlic, and parsley and simmer until shrimp have heated through, about 1 minute longer. Off heat, stir in remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Step 4: While sauce simmers, add linguine or spaghetti and remaining 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water, stir to separate pasta, cover, and cook until al dente; reserve 1/3 cup pasta cooking water and drain pasta. Transfer drained pasta back to now-empty Dutch oven or stockpot; add about 1/2 cup sauce (without shrimp) and 2 to 3 tablespoons reserved pasta cooking water; toss to coat. Divide pasta among warm serving bowls, top with a portion of sauce and shrimp, and serve immediately.