Shrimp scampi is not a dish I had ever thought about cooking until now. I used to think of it more as a long-gone memory of childhood and something from commercials for Red Lobster. But the loss has definitely been mine. In the way that all clichés have an element of truth to them, famous dishes have great potential for their original deliciousness. And when you start to add up the ingredients in shrimp scampi—pasta, butter, garlic, white wine, and shrimp—its deliciousness is easy to imagine.
This highly rated recipe from Epicurious seems to be something of a gold standard. Since I had artichokes at hand I slipped them into the dish, but they're not necessary. What matters is good technique: sautéeing the shrimp first over decently high heat to develop some flavor in the pan, and adding the butter at the end until it just melts but is not yet separated, creating a luscious, rather than greasy, sauce. If you follow those guidelines and the ratio of ingredients in this recipe, the result is almost certainly going to be delicious.
Note: You can cook your own artichoke hearts or use frozen or canned artichoke hearts.
Adapted from Epicurious.
- 3/4 pounds capellini (angel-hair pasta)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 pound peeled and deveined raw large shrimp
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 to 4 cooked artichoke hearts, sliced (see note)
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water before draining.
In a large (12-inch) skillet, heat the olive oil on high heat until just beginning to smoke. Add the shrimp and cook, turning once, until just cooked through, about 2 minutes total. Transfer to a large serving bowl, leaving the oil in the pan behind.
Off heat, add the garlic, red pepper flakes, wine, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat until reduced by half. Add the butter and shrimp to the skillet and remove from the heat, tossing until the shrimp is warmed through and the butter is just melted. Sprinkle with parsley.
In the large serving bowl, toss together the shrimp and drained pasta. If necessary, add a little pasta cooking water to moisten it. Serve immediately.