Shrimp scampi is just like every boyfriend I’ve ever had.
I’ve tried a lot of different ones, and not one was ever quite right, not a single one ever totally “did it” for me quite the way I’d hoped for, but I always feel like there’s some untapped potential going on under the surface, so I keep coming back for more. I am a glutton for greasy, tart, wine-soaked punishment.
But like they say... if you want something done right, you really ought just do it yourself. To get it right, it turns out all I had to do was take matters into my own hands. Yes, we are still talking about pasta.
The thing with shrimp scampi (and my ex's) is that if you overthink things, everything gets all complicated and weird and congealed. Scampi is the drunken quickie of dinners... a dash here, a pinch there, a quick toss, and a fast boil, and it’s done. You know you like it.
I throw something close to two sticks of butter in a large skillet on medium, because really, you’re only going to live once, people. As soon as the heart attack has melted, I set it to low heat and add sixish cloves of garlic, chopped up. Now, here’s where the normal person would add white wine, but I am of the opinion that the only decent ones are a little fruity. Instead, I throw in a pinch of red pepper flakes and a dash of Cajun seasoning.
Then I start adding lemon juice — I just use those bottles of lemon juice you pick up in the produce aisle (also known as seedless lemons) and I squirt about two seconds’ worth of juice into the pan. If that tastes OK, I add about ½ cup water and bring that up to a simmer. Once it’s good and heated, I add a pound of raw white shrimp (peeled completely) and toss them in the sauce for just a few minutes, until they’re pink.
Once you get the shrimp exactly the way you like it, go ahead and add a little more lemon to it. You know you can’t leave a good thing alone. You can make it even better.
And with that, you’re set to pop.
I serve my scampi on angel hair pasta because that’s the closest to salvation I think I’m going to get in this lifetime. Also, because it’s a delicate sauce that requires a delicate pasta. Angel hair pasta takes about four minutes to boil on the worst of days, so do that last, and once it’s cooked, make a little pasta mound in the middle of a plate, then spoon shrimp and sauce all around it. Top that with diced roma tomatoes and a tiny little bit of shredded Parmesan cheese and God, God, God yes.
— Mr. Lady, Babble
- 1 unsalted butter
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 red pepper flakes, to taste
- 1/2 Cajun seasoning, to taste
- Salt, to taste
- 1/4 lemon juice
- 1/2 water
- 1 shrimp, shells and tails removed
- 1/2 angel hair pasta
- 1 roma tomato, diced
- Parmesan, shredded, to taste
In a pan, heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, add the red pepper flakes, Cajun seasoning, and salt. Add the lemon juice and water, and simmer over low heat. Add the shrimp and toss in the sauce until pink, about 3-4 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the angel hair pasta and cook until tender, 4-5 minutes. Drain, rinse, and serve with the sauce.
Top with the diced tomato and shredded Parmesan.