Shrimp Scampi is most certainly one of those classic dishes, and I’m sure all of you have eaten it at one time or another. If you’ve had a good version you will likely remember the bright notes of lemon, the “bite” of the perfectly cooked pasta, the sweetness of the shrimp or langoustine, and the silky smooth butter that holds it all together. If you’ve had a poor version…well forget all about the scampi you had before and try this recipe instead.
One of the great things about shrimp scampi is that it is easy to throw together, you probably have all the ingredients on hand (except possibly the shrimp), and damn near everyone loves scampi. Even our daughter, who is notoriously a picky eater, admitted that the shrimp scampi was delicious. Yay Dad! She’s a challenge to feed on most every day, so when I hit on a winner I’m quite proud of myself. Unfortunately one good showing has no bearing on her feelings next time she encounters the same dish. I have hope for her though since she’s only 4.
Did I mention how quick this meal is? If you get your shrimp already peeled and butterflied (or if you spent a summer butterflying shrimp for a busy Red Lobster in your youth), you can literally finish the scampi part in the same amount of time it will take you to boil water and cook your pasta. I think we can all manage that, even on the most rushed nights when we’d really just like to stop for fast food and hibernate on the couch. Don’t do that! Instead make some shrimp scampi and enjoy it with a nice crisp glass (or three) of white wine.
- 8 ounces linguine (or similar pasta)
- 2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound jumbo shrimp (16-24), shelled and deveined
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- ½ cup white wine
- ¼ cup lemon juice (~1 lemon)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1-2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
- Cook the pasta in salted boiling water for 6-8 minutes or as directed on package. The pasta should be not quite finished when you drain it.
- While the pasta is cooking heat a heavy pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter and wait until the butter and oil are sizzling.
- Add the shrimp to the pan and cook for 1 minute until the shrimp are just beginning to turn pink. Do not overcook the shrimp.
- Add the garlic, shallot, and red pepper (if using) and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the shallots are just translucent. Transfer to bowl.
- Add wine and lemon juice to pan to deglaze and then reduce liquid by ⅓ (2-3 minutes).
- Mount with remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, whisking until fully incorporated.
- Return shrimp to pan and mix to coat with sauce. Add salt, pepper, lemon zest and parsley and stir.
- Pour shrimp with sauce over pasta and toss to coat.
- Optional: Can be served with grated Parmesan.
That’s all there is to it. Like I said, if you’re using shrimp that have already been peeled and butterflied you can have the scampi done even before the pasta is finished cooking. I like to use linguine so more of the sauce sticks to the pasta, but you can certainly use angel hair pasta or regular spaghetti pasta if you want. Give it a try and let me know if you family sings your praises like mine did for me.