Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Here’s a dish I made during the holidays. Usually I serve scampi with pasta, but since we were already busting out of our clothes, we skipped the pasta and served it plain with some vegetables on the side.

You can find recipes for scampi in just about every Italian cookbook and all over the web too. This is my version. I add sliced fresh tomatoes and lots of herbs to mine. And, gasp, I like sprinkling it with Parmesan cheese–how blasphemous.

It’s a simple dish to prepare, once you peel and devein the shrimp. Allow time for that or you’ll be dining late. Don’t throw out the shrimp shells. Make a quick broth and consider boiling your pasta in that instead of plain water–extra flavor.

I hope you all had a great holiday season. We certainly did. I spent days in the kitchen, and that’s a good thing–my way of celebrating the holidays. As a result I have several Christmas cookie recipes to share next December. Just remind me next year to not make full batches of each one. We still have enough cookies to last several more weeks, if not months. Into the freezer they will go.

Happy New Year!

shrimp scampi recipe italian pasta

Shrimp Scampi

You’ll need a large skillet and time to peel and devein shrimp. This recipe serves two piggish people.

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion (or 2 shallots, finely chopped)
  • 4 hefty cloves of garlic, minced
  • Optional: 1/2 cup (or more) diced grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 pound medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined, reserve shells for broth – please only buy U.S. shrimp
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley (add chopped fresh basil and oregano too, if you wish)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound spaghetti – cook in shrimp broth, if possible, reserve pasta water
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving

Heat up water (or broth) for pasta and cook per instructions. Reserve a few ladles of pasta water.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and all the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and salt to the skillet, and cook until onions are softened. Add garlic and cook about one minute. Add tomatoes and red pepper and cook until tomatoes melt a bit.

Turn up heat to medium. Add wine, lemon juice and zest, and cook until reduced by half. Season shrimp with salt and pepper, and add them to the skillet. Cook, turning once, until beginning to turn pink, about 3 minutes total. Stir in remaining butter and parsley (and other herbs). If you’re making this for pasta, stir in the cooked pasta now along with some pasta water. Serve with parmesan sprinkled all over.

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1 year ago on Gusto: Minestrone Soup

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