They say the way to a person’s heart is through his or her stomach. I’m pretty sure this recipe is the basis for that quote.
The very first meal I cooked for my boyfriend, on a cold February night in 2010, was shrimp scampi. It was my very first time attempting it (though I’ve been cooking shrimp, and pasta, for many years) but I’d seen enough Food Network shows featuring it to feel pretty confident that this recipe would be a game-changer. It is fast and easy, yet elegant. And it doesn’t require too many dishes, so clean-up is a breeze and you have more time to, uh, talk with each other.
And here we are three years later, so I guess it worked. I like to make it again every so often because, well, it takes me back. Food creates memories, and I love eating this, and remembering all those early dates, the late nights talking, the first time he made me watch Arrested Development.
And now I’ve made this recipe many times, with some different variations. I’ve made it for Scott’s parents when they’ve come over (they love me too). The general formula is always the same: Olive oil, butter, garlic, lemon, Parmesan. Can’t go wrong.
I actually wasn’t even planning on making this last night, but while out running errands, I popped into a market and they had fresh, wild Gulf shrimp on sale. Couldn’t pass that up. And this dish is fast. I mean actually a 30-minute meal, unlike Rachel Ray’s recipes that, I don’t know about you, but always end up taking me almost an hour.
Make this for someone you love, or maybe someone you’re just getting to know. Or for no reason at all. It’ll be delicious no matter what.
Shrimp ScampiServes 2. Time: 30 minutes or less To peel shrimp, simply cut down the back, using a very sharp knife, then peel off the shell. Remove the black vein if there is one. PS: This is why restaurants always butterfly shrimp — not because it’s “fancy” but because it’s easy. And please, do take the tail off. Nothing is worse than having to stick your fingers into your bowl of olive-oil coated pasta at dinner (that’s the restaurants being lazy) (unless you’re at a seafood boil). So not sexy.
- 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- juice and zest of one large lemon
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- salt and pepper
- 6 oz whole-wheat linguine
- basil and Parmesan to garnish (sometimes I add sun-dried tomatoes, too; this time I added diced tomatoes fresh from my garden)
- Combine shrimp, olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and S&P in a plastic bag to marinate for about 10 minutes.
- While shrimp marinates, bring water to a boil. Preheat a pan, add butter when the pasta water comes to a boil. Add pasta to the water.
- Add shrimp, oil and all, to the pan. Cook on the first side, flipping after about 2-3 minutes (depending on the size of your shrimp; mine were quite large). Cook another two minutes or until opaque and pinkish orange. Kill the heat, add lemon juice to the pan and stir.
- When pasta is cooked, spoon it into the pan with the shrimp and toss to combine. Add chopped basil and grated Parmesan to your heart’s desire. Serve immediately.