Jason and I spent the last week in New Orleans, Louisiana. I was there primarily for a work event, but we got a little time squeezed in to experience the culinary culture of this amazing, unique and absolutely delicious part of the country. And, of course, my camera was there to take plenty of food pictures to share with you!
After a week of eating and drinking to our absolute heart's content, I was ready to come home to a lighter fare. Enter some Classic Shrimp Scampi with whole grain pasta! Similar to the Grilled Moroccan Chicken I've made with the Golden Raisin and Pistachio Couscous, the Shrimp Scampi can be made traditionally with pasta, or for you low carbie peeps out there, substitute the pasta for some steamed cauliflower, gluten free pasta, or sautéed tofu with garlic!
I should add to the blog that I am NOT a huge seafood lover. Honestly, I really didn't start eating seafood AT ALL until I started dating Jason. We still don't eat fish. That said, this classic shrimp scampi has very little-to-no "fishy" taste what-so-ever, is super buttery & garlic-y, and is ridiculously easy and fast to make!
It starts with 8 simple ingredients, some salt and pepper, and pasta. I'll be honest; we cheated and used precooked shrimp for our dish, one, because I didn't have to worry about de-veining or cleaning the shrimp, and two, it was what was on sale at our grocery store that day.
This isn't a dinner that you can walk away from while cooking - it goes that fast. It starts with melting down the butter into olive oil in a sauté pan, adding the crushed garlic, red pepper flakes, white wine, salt and pepper. You take a few minutes to let that all reduce down, which really brings up the flavor profile of the entire meal. It is vital to be patient during this process - this is where the dish picks up it's "singing talent".
Once the sauce has reduced to its full potential, you add the shrimp to the pan, and let it cook until the shrimp is cooked through. Or, if you are using pre-cooked shrimp like we did, just keep in on the heat long enough to heat through and move on to the next step of adding the pasta and herbs. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp! I'm sure by using the raw shrimp, you again, add a deeper flavor profile to the overall dish. Also, some readers have suggested adding in the shells of the shrimp to the reduction stage of the sauce. I personally think this is an awesome suggestion and would love for someone to try it and provide some feedback in the comments below how that turned out! Using the shells in cooking seafood really adds a good flavor to your dish.
Finally, once the shrimp is done, add your herbs, lemon juice and pasta; toss, and serve! A must pairing is some white wine; I prefer Chardonnay with this dish; buttery, not oak-y. Full instructions and the modified ingredient list is below!
CLASSIC SHRIMP SCAMPI
(Original Recipe by: New York Times Cooking)
1 Tbl. unsalted butter
1 Tbl. EVOO
4 garlic cloves, minced (we didn't adapt this part of the recipe, we LOVE garlic. If you aren't as big of a fan, use 2 cloves instead)
1/4 c. dry white white, or chicken stock
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (again, we didn't adapt this part. We like a kick. If you HATE spicy food, only use half of the 1/8 tsp.)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. large shrimp, shelled and de-veined (can use cooked or uncooked, see details above)
2 Tbl. + 2 tsp. of fresh, chopped parsley
Freshly squeeze juice of 1/4 of lemon
Pinch of lemon zest (to make it look pretty on top)
Cooked pasta, crusty bread, steamed cauliflower, etc.
In a large skillet, melt butter with olive oil. Add garlic and sauté until it smells good, about 1 minute. Add wine (or broth), salt, red pepper flakes and a good amount of black pepper and bring to a simmer. Let wine reduce by half, about 2 minutes.
Add shrimp and sauté until they just turn pink, 2 to 4 minutes depending upon their size. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice and serve over pasta or your accompaniment of choice.
Yes, it's that easy! Enjoy!