I think everyone has one of those days when you are tired and don't want to cook, you don't feel like ordering in or picking up a takeaway on your way home, but you surely want to enjoy a delicious soul-satisfying meal. On such a day, shrimp scampi is that meal for me. Not so much for the husband as he is a vegetarian. But, I have this sorted. While a big batch of pasta boils away, I toss shrimps in one pan and let asparagus grill in another.
My version of this recipe is non-alcoholic. I prefer to use white vinegar and vegetable stock instead of white wine.
While it's an easy weeknight dinner, it's also perfect for a weekend soirée! It needs a handful of ingredients, and let me tell you the cleanup is truly a walk in the park. Sizzled in a white garlic butter sauce with a hint of lemon, shrimps are served on a bed of linguine or spaghetti - the sauce is licked and the shrimps are heartily chewed with every bite!
Shrimp and scampi are two different crustaceans. In Italy (where this dish originated), it was traditionally made with just scampi (Norway lobster). As the recipe traveled to the Americas, shrimp gradually replaced scampi. Funnily enough, scampi wasn't dropped from the name of the dish.
What are some tips to make this typically restaurant made dish at home?
Be careful to not overcook the shrimps or shrimps will loose their texture.
If you are using frozen shrimps, be sure to thaw them before you start cooking. Remove the tails beforehand if you don't want them in your dish.
Start boiling the pasta first and have it ready to be added to the warm shrimp and sauce. Rinsing the pasta with water is not a good idea as it will not let the sauce to cling to the pasta. Chances are that the pasta will cook before the shrimps are done. Add some drops of oil into your pasta while boiling, this will help it from sticking.
Don't add a lot of different spices in this dish. Too many types of spices will interfere with the taste.
Avoid using any flavoured vinegar like apple cider vinegar. It will impart a sweet note and take away from the savory taste of the sauce.
1 pack of your favourite pasta (I prefer linguine or spaghetti for this recipe)
600-700 grams of large shrimps
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
5 large garlic cloves minced
1 large bell pepper (optional)
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 tsp white vinegar
2-3 pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
A few chopped parsley
Salt to taste
Start cooking the pasta according to the package instructions.
While the pasta is boiling, place a skillet/pan on medium heat and melt the butter with olive oil in it.
Add garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes or until golden. Don't brown the garlic.
Add the bell pepper and sauté for the next 3 minutes.
Add the vegetable stock and vinegar and cook until reduced to half. This should take about 3 minutes.
Add the shrimps into the pan, season with black and red pepper and salt, and cook until the shrimps turn pink. About 2 minutes per side should be enough.
Stir in the lemon juice and toss the pasta with the sauce and the shrimps.
Add the chopped parsley and serve hot!
This recipe is a keeper. Easy to put together, delicious on the pallet, and packed with subtle fragrances. If you are making it for guests, it's best to cook while your guests have arrived. And, if you're making it for yourself, you needn't be told that you must relish it as soon as it's done! Bring in that mojito or open that bottle of wine you have been saving. What better time to open it and enjoy with this bed of pasta and shrimp love!