If you ask me, shrimp scampi is the perfect seasonal dish to kick-off the beginning of summer. This Italian native–turned American mainstay is one of those classics that’s open to interpretation.
The ingredients are simple: shrimp, garlic, butter, olive oil, dry white wine, lemon juice and fresh parsley. You can stick to the old standards and enjoy it just fine, or you can elevate this dish to unfathomable heights with some additional fresh fixings.
Being a hardcore lover of seafood myself (shellfish especially), dumping just shrimp in this garlicky-buttery-lemony concoction feels like I’m playing it safe. Why not throw in a chopped up lobster tail, or two? Depending on what you have access to, if you can get your hand on some squid, add it to your scampi and send me a personalized thank you card later. Mussels, lump crab meat, and even canned smoked clams work excellent too. If you’re me, you include everything.
The sauce in most of the scampi recipes I found online merely include butter, olive oil, garlic, dry white wine and lemon juice. I follow the same standard, but I also add some chopped shallots, scallions, and crushed red pepper flakes. Not only do I juice the lemons, but I also zest the outer skin with a cheese grater and sprinkle the shaved rinds in the sauce as it simmers. I also found that many people who leave reviews on scampi recipes complain about the recipes not providing enough sauce to thoroughly coat a full helping of pasta. So, I counteracted that issue by doubling the amount of butter and wine in my recipe. Or you could throw the shells of the shrimp in a small pot with a half cup of wine and bring it to a simmer while you are working on everything else. Most people don’t know that the shells of shrimp produce a ton of flavor, and act as a really nice broth when boiled. Point is, you’d rather have extra sauce than not enough.
As well, sprinkling in half a cup of grated parmesan cheese will help the sauce stick better to the noodles. Keep in mind, you can also serve this dish over a bed of rice, or by itself alongside some nicely toasted garlic bread to soak up the juice. Totally up to you! The best part of this entire thing? The leftover wine you can enjoy while you’re cooking 🙂