Shrimp Scampi

[shrimp, head-on, skillet]
My husband tells me that early in our relationship I made shrimp scampi for him for dinner and he thought it was very sexy. 🙂 I, of course, have no memory of this because my memory is a bit like a sieve. Still his recollection gave me reason enough to make this simple dish once again.


The lovely shrimp in this skillet came to us via the food co-op we belong to and were raised less than 20 miles from our home. Thanks Tasty Harvest Shrimp for the wonderful crustaceans.

This was my first go at cooking shell-on shrimp. See the note for a bit of additional info on how I modified the recipe to fit that little detail.

Shrimp Scampi
Servings: 2-4
Prep time: 5-20 minutes (see notes)
Total time: 15-30 minutes (likewise)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. raw shrimp
  • 1 lb. thin pasta such as spaghetti or angel hair
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • kosher salt
  • Parmessan cheese to taste

Directions:

  1. Rinse shrimp in a collander or sieve. If needed remove the shells and give them a second rinse. Shake excess water off, transfer to a couple of layers of paper towel and blot.
  2. Divided butter in half, cut each half into smaller pieces and place in 2 bowls. Set both aside.
  3. Bring a 4 quarts of water to a boil; add about a tablespoon of kosher salt and return to a boil. Add pasta, stir to make sure the strands have separated and cook according to the package instructions.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over high heat until shimmering (about 1 minute). Add the shrimp; sprinkle with kosher salt. Cook without disturbing for 1 minute. Toss shrimp in pan (or turn over with tongs) and cook another minute. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  5. Move the skillet off the heat and carefully add the wine. Return to medium heat and simmer until most of the wine has cooked off. Add the first half of the butter and swirl until melted. Add the garlic and peppers. Stir to distribute in the sauce.
  6. When the garlic becomes arromatic return the shrimp to the skillet. Toss to coat with the sauce.
  7. When pasta is cooked drain and return to the pot it as cooked in. Add the remaining butter. Toss to coat. Add the saused shrimp and combine.
  8. Serve with grated Parmessan cheese to taste. Enjoy with some of that wine you used in the dish.

Notes:
The variability in the prep and cooking time are because one never knows what kind of raw shrimp you’ll find. If you can find raw, shelled and deviened shrimp then lord bless yah. The best luck I’ve had is raw (frozen), deviened, shell-on shrimp. Shelling the shrimp isn’t difficult, just a bit tedious.

With the head on shrimp I decided to cook them with the heads and shells still in place. I rinsed them and cooked them in the skillet as above (with the oil but without the salt; salt ain’t getting through that shell) but for about 2 minutes per side. I transferred them to a bowl, let them cool for a minute and pulled the heads/removed the shell. There was no visible digestive tract (that thing we “devein” isn’t a vein at all) so I didn’t bother trying to remove it. It’s my least favorite thing about prepping shrimp anyway.

I returned them to the skillet as in the recipe above and added a pinch of salt at this point. I let them cook in the skillet for about 30 seconds to finish off heating them through.

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