Shrimp scampi pasta is a dish that brings the essence of gourmet dining to your family table with ease. Its combination of tenderly cooked shrimp and linguine, tossed in a luxuriously buttery and garlicky sauce, speckled with red pepper flakes and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, creates a taste that is both rich and refreshing. This dish, ready in just 15 minutes, is perfect for moms looking to whip up a quick yet sophisticated meal that caters to both adult tastes and kids’ love for pasta.
Why You’ll Love Shrimp Scampi
- Ready in just 15 minutes, perfect for busy weeknights.
- Requires only one pan for cooking, making clean up a breeze.
- Tastes great even when reheated, making it perfect for next-day lunches.
Ingredient Breakdown & Substitutions
In this recipe, each ingredient plays a pivotal role in creating its signature flavor profile. Below is a detailed breakdown of these key ingredients, along with some tried-and-true substitutions, to ensure you can bring this delightful dish to life, even if you’re missing a couple of items from your pantry.
- Shrimp: Fresh or frozen work well. If using frozen, ensure they are fully thawed.
- Linguine: Can substitute with spaghetti or angel hair. Use gluten-free pasta if desired.
- Butter: Unsalted butter can be used; adjust the salt accordingly.
- White Wine: Substitute with chicken broth or a non-alcoholic wine if desired.
- Lemon Juice: Fresh is best, but bottled works in a pinch.
- Parmesan: Grate your own for the best flavor or use pre-grated for convenience.
- Parsley: Fresh parsley is recommended, but dried can be used in a smaller amount.
Did You Know?
Shrimp scampi originally didn’t even contain shrimp! Scampi is actually a more broad name for small members of the lobster family, typically Dublin Bay prawns or Norway lobsters. However, because we have an abundance of shrimp in the United States, this dish changed over time to become an almost formulaic method of preparing shrimp over pasta: typically sautéed in butter with garlic, white wine to deglaze the pan, and lemon juice. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, thaw the shrimp completely before cooking.
The red pepper flakes add a mild kick, but you can adjust to your taste.
Yes, bell peppers or spinach make great additions.
Visual Guide to Making Shrimp Scampi
Selecting the right shrimp is crucial for the perfect shrimp scampi pasta. Here are some tips to help you choose the best shrimp:
- Fresh vs. Frozen: Fresh shrimp should have a mild sea-like smell, firm flesh, and a bright, clean appearance without any black spots or discoloration. However, don’t shy away from frozen shrimp, as they are often flash-frozen shortly after being caught, retaining their freshness.
- Size Matters: Look for medium to large-sized shrimp for this dish. They are not only easier to clean and handle but also provide a satisfying texture and flavor. Shrimp are usually sold by count per pound; for scampi, a count of 21-30 (meaning 21-30 shrimp per pound) is ideal.
- Tail-On or Off: Tail-on shrimp can add a more elegant presentation to your dish, but for ease of eating, you might prefer tail-off. It’s a matter of personal preference and presentation.
- Wild-Caught or Farmed: Wild-caught shrimp often have a more pronounced flavor, but responsibly farmed shrimp can be a good alternative.
- Preparation: If you’re short on prep time, look for shrimp that have been deveined and peeled. Otherwise, buying whole shrimp and preparing them yourself can be more economical and allows for more control over the cleaning process.
Make Shrimp Scampi a Complete Meal With…
- Pasta: Classic and comforting, serving shrimp scampi over a bed of al dente linguine or spaghetti allows the pasta to soak up the flavorful sauce.
- Couscous or Orzo: These quick-cooking grains are excellent at absorbing the scampi sauce and offer a delightful texture contrast.
- Alternative Bases: For a lighter option, try serving it over zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. Brown rice or quinoa also make excellent bases for those seeking whole grain options.
- Bread Pairing: Crusty bread like a baguette or garlic bread is perfect for sopping up the delicious garlic butter sauce.
- Vegetable Sides: Balance the richness of the scampi with steamed or roasted vegetables, such as asparagus, green beans, or a medley of seasonal vegetables.
- Salad: A fresh garden salad with a light vinaigrette dressing complements the flavors and adds a crisp, refreshing element to the meal.
- Shrimp Overcooked: Cook shrimp until just pink. They continue to cook in the sauce.
- Sauce Too Thin: Simmer the sauce a bit longer before adding the pasta.
- Pasta Not Coating Well: Toss the pasta thoroughly in the sauce for even coating.
Tips From the Chef
- Use high-quality, fresh ingredients for the best flavor.
- Don’t overcook the shrimp; they cook quickly.
- Add the pasta directly to the sauce for better flavor integration.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and parmesan for a fresh touch.
Storage & Reheating Instructions
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat gently in a pan over low heat. Freezing is not recommended as it can affect the texture of the shrimp and pasta.
Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.