Sunday my friend and I had a great time making homemade pasta together. Tonight I used some of the pasta and made shrimp scampi for dinner. Lots of garlic, oil and butter. Probably not high on the healthy, low calorie meal pyramid. Definitely not a dish I grew up eating. As I think about it, I don’t recall ever eating shrimp or other shellfish as a child. We ate a lot of fresh water fish but no shellfish or ocean fish except an occasional cod filet at a Friday fish fry. I remember one time when my parents went out to dinner for what must have been a special occasion. One of them had ordered lobster for dinner and they brought home the lobster shell to show us. I remember being fascinated and a little repulsed and wondered how someone could possibly eat that creature!
Scampi is an easy dish to prepare and it doesn’t take a lot of time. Even if you didn’t make your own pasta I hope you’ll try this.
1 pound of uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup olive oil
5 T unsalted butter
4 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
2 shallots finedly diced
juice and zest of one lemon
1/4 cup of minced parsley
1/2 cup white wine (or chicken broth)
red pepper flakes
salt to taste
pasta of your choosing
fresh grated asiago or parmesan cheese for serving
This dish comes together pretty quickly so prepping all the ingredients before hand is important. Press or mince the garlic and dice the shallots.
Juice and zest the lemon. Mince the parsley.
Put a pot of salted water on the stove and bring it to a boil for cooking your pasta. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer cook your shrimp. Cook in batches to avoid crowding them in your pan. Cook the shrimp until they start to turn pink, then turn them. Once cooked, they only take a minute, set them aside on a plate.
Add the garlic, shallots, and red pepper flake to the oil. Cook for 1 minute. Stir in the white wine or broth. Simmer for 2 minutes.
Add the butter until it melts into the garlic and shallot oil.
Once the butter has melted stir in the parsley, lemon juice and zest, and return the shrimp to the skillet. Remove from the heat and set aside until the pasta has finished cooking.
Cook the pasta until it is al dente. Reserve some of the pasta water before draining in a colander.
Return the pasta to the kettle or put it into a large serving bowl. Add the shrimp scampi to the pasta and gently toss. If additional liquid is necessary add in some of the reserved pasta water. Serve immediately with some fresh grated cheese.
Serve with a salad and a nice glass of wine. If you’d prefer skip the pasta and serve the scampi with a baked potato and a vegetable.
NOTE: I cooked the shrimp in a cast iron pan and there was a lot of oil splatter on my stove. I’m not a big fan of cleaning greasy messes so next time I will do the scampi in my dutch oven. A deeper dish will help to minimize the splatter. It’s also important to pat the shrimp dry with paper towel before frying.