Fresh shrimp, homegrown garlic, fresh Meyer lemons…the perfect combination for a Garlicky Shrimp Scampi Recipe.
My love for shrimp scampi began as a teenager. I even celebrated my 16th birthday at the only place I knew served shrimp scampi, Red Lobster.
As a 16-year-old, I never dreamed I could make my own shrimp scampi. Once I married, I became much more adventurous in the kitchen and developed this Garlicky Shrimp Scampi Recipe that serves my husband, family, and friends well. Being a perfect dish for entertaining, I can just about prepare this dish blindfolded. It’s just that easy!
As always, fresh ingredients are a must. Any time I can get my hands on fresh (1 to 2 day old) shrimp, I purchase them no matter what. My family will usually go “shrimping” a few times a year too, which is my preference for obtaining fresh seafood.
What this dish delivers inducing addiction is the delicate nutty flavor of the garlic carried by the butter throughout the dish as a whole. Since garlic is the star of this dish for me, I mince half of the garlic and thinly slice the other half. This optimizes the flavor and texture of the garlic; the butter is infused by the minced garlic, yet I enjoy surprises of texture by the sliced garlic.
I do use quite a bit of butter in this recipe. In my quest for better health, I have attempted to use less amounts of fat in this dish (and you can do that if you are looking for a more lemony taste), but am disappointed with the results. Fat is the deliverer or carrier of the garlic and is necessary for the satiny texture and added flavor I’m seeking.
Another benefit in this recipe is that the shrimp are boiled whole, including the head, tail, and shell. This is of major importance for optimal flavor. The shell imparts amazing flavor that you will not achieve by cooking them any other way. I also use the strained “shrimp stock” to boil the pasta and to add to the sauce.
I am a big believer in adding flavor everywhere possible in the creation of a dish. If you are looking for maximum flavor, this is the dish for you. You will leave the table satisfied, but hoping for left-overs!
Garlicky Shrimp Scampi Recipe
- 2 pounds large shrimp , shelled and heads on
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound pasta (spaghetti or linguine)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil , plus more for drizzling
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 10 garlic cloves , half minced and half thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes , plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1/3 cup white wine
- juice of 1 medium lemon
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the shrimp and a tablespoon of salt to the water. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes or until the shrimp are lightly pink. Remove shrimp with a spider to a bowl. Strain the water the shrimp were boiled and add more water if needed to cook the pasta.
Bring the water to a boil and add the pasta and another pinch of salt and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving about a cup of the pasta water.
Meanwhile, peel and devein the shrimp. Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the oil and 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan until the butter is melted. Add the minced and sliced garlic and red pepper flakes for about 1 to 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
Add lemon zest and white wine to the pan and reduce by one-third. Add 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, lemon juice, pasta, shrimp, and remaining pasta water and reduce by one-third. Add the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter one at the time to the sauce making it thick and luscious. Toss to combine.
Remove from the heat and sprinkle with the parsley. Plate the pasta, pour the shrimp and sauce over the pasta, and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and extra red pepper flakes.