There’s a simple reason that this shrimp scampi recipe is requested at almost every family get-together at my house: It’s irresistibly delicious. The shrimp is tender and flavorful, coated in the most delicate sauce made from white wine, lemon juice, and other simple ingredients.
Not to mention that shrimp scampi makes one of the easiest and quickest meals ever, meaning the recipe is so straightforward that even an amateur cook could make it with ease. It takes just a few minutes to prepare, but will make you feel like you’re eating out at an Italian restaurant.
Now get all the ingredients ready, put on your apron — it’s time to make this to-die-for shrimp scampi!
What is shrimp scampi?
Shrimp scampi is a dish of Italian cuisine, in which shrimp is sautéed in a rich and delicate sauce of garlic, butter, and white wine. However, its original name is actually “scampi” only, because “scampi” is the name of a slim, orange-pink, edible lobster found in North-Eastern Atlantic Ocean, Norway to Portugal, as well as the Mediterranean Sea.
The crustacean is also known as Norway lobster or Dublin Bay Prawn, and in the past , it was in short supply when immigrant Italian cooks the dish in the US. Therefore, shrimps were used instead, resulting in the odd name “shrimp scampi”, which would literally translate to “shrimp lobster.”
How do you make perfect shrimp scampi?
I have a motto in my kitchen. It says: Great meals come from great ingredients. If you use the right high-quality ingredients, following the right steps, you’ll end up with homemade dishes that taste wonderful.
The best shrimp you can buy: Because shrimp is the highlight of the show, make sure you get the best ones available. It’ll be marvellous if you can come by some fresh wild-caught shrimps, since they are rich in nutrients and have a nice, firm texture – excellent in pasta or saute dishes.
The best wine pairing for shrimp scampi: When it comes to white wine for this dish; the drier, the better. I usually use Chardonnay, but you can use Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, or your preferred kind.
Fresh garlic for better result: I always use fresh garlic, not only for shrimp scampi, but for all of the dishes in my kitchen, because it’s fragrant. I would not recommend using jarred garlic, pre-packed garlic, or any of its store-bought versions at all. It tastes way worse than fresh garlic and could’ve been bleached. Yikes!
Can you make shrimp scampi without wine?
Yes, certainly! Although shrimp scampi is traditionally made with white wine to add the distinctive flavor, omitting or replacing the wine with other ingredients is totally fine.
Actually, when I cook shrimp scampi for a group of children (my lovely nephews and nieces), I usually substitute low sodium chicken broth for wine to make the dish 100% kid-friendly.
I hope you’ll love the dish as much as my whole family does! Happy cooking, cheers!
Shrimp Scampi Recipe
- 1 lb raw shrimp 6.7 oz deshelled shrimp
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp garlic half minced, half sliced
- 1/2 tsp salt divided
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper divided
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8 oz linguine pasta uncooked
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tbsp lemon peel grated
- 1/2 tbsp parsley minced
- 4 tbsp parmesan grated
- Boil the pasta, following the instruction on the package. Ours says 10 minutes.
- While it’s cooking, deshell the shrimps and butterfly them if you're using fresh shrimps. If you use deshelled shrimps, marinate the shrimps with minced garlic, 1/4 tsp kosher salt and 1/8 tsp ground black pepper (half the kosher salt and black pepper mixture) for 10 minutes.
- Preheat the pan on medium heat. Add butter and when it’s melted, sear the shrimp, 3 minutes on the first side. Flip the shrimps and add wine. Cook for another 3 minutes and take the shrimps out with a thong.
- Don’t clean the pan! Add oil, sliced garlic and fry on low heat for 2 minutes (or until the garlic is slightly golden).
- Add pasta, the rest of the salt and pepper, give it a mix.
- Add shrimps, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, lemon peel, parsley, parmesan and mix. Turn off the stove.