Shrimp Scampi Pasta is an easy, yet elegant entree featuring angel hair pasta tossed with shrimp that have been sauteed in a rich sauce infused with white wine and garlic.
What is Shrimp Scampi?
Shrimp Scampi is an Italian-American dish made with shrimp that are quickly sauteed in dry wine, butter, and garlic.
Ironically, this recipe does not feature any scampi. Scampi, also known as langoustines, are small, lobster-like crustaceans with pale pink shells. Through the years, the scampi was replaced with shrimp, which is more readily available here in the United States, forming the dish Americans know as Shrimp Scampi.
Regardless of the origin of the name, Shrimp Scampi is unbelievably delicious and easy to make! Ready in less than 15 minutes, it is the perfect dish for a quick weeknight meal, yet the flavor is so rich and impressive, that you can even rely on this recipe for serving to company.
While Shrimp Scampi can stand alone as a meal, I love to pair angel hair pasta with shrimp, for a Shrimp Scampi Pasta that is easy enough to prepare any night of the week.
Notes on Ingredients
- Shrimp: It is best to use fresh or defrosted large or extra-large, deveined, shelled shrimp.
- Oil/Butter: This recipe uses both olive oil and butter. The butter adds richness to the shrimp scampi, while the olive oil allows you to saute the shrimp at a higher temperature, than butter alone.
- White Wine: It is best to use dry white wine like chardonnay or pinot grigio for this shrimp scampi. If you don't drink wine, use low-sodium chicken stock to make shrimp scampi without wine.
- Shallots: Shallots are much milder than onions and add a delicate flavor to the shrimp scampi that does not overpower the sauce.
- Lemon: You will need both the zest and juice of a fresh lemon. Be sure to zest the lemon before slicing and juicing the lemon, as it is next to impossible to zest a lemon after it is sliced open.
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: The red pepper flakes will add a subtle layer of heat to the sauce and help wake up the palate. Feel free to reduce or omit to control the level of heat if needed.
- Parsley: The parsley adds a nice fresh, herby flavor to the dish, but it can be omitted if desired.
How to Make Shrimp Scampi Pasta
Shrimp Scampi cooks up exceptionally fast. The trick to preparing pasta alongside the shrimp scampi is to start cooking the pasta before cooking the shrimp. That way everything will come together at the same time, creating a simple, fast, amazing dish.
- For the pasta, bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Season the water with a generous amount of kosher salt and drop the angel hair pasta into the water once it comes to a rapid boil. You want to cook the pasta for 1-2 minutes LESS than the package states, as we will finish cooking the pasta in the sauce.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat some butter and oil together over medium heat in a large, deep nonstick skillet. The butter will work to flavor the shrimp, while the oil will help keep the butter from burning.
- Once the butter is melted, add in the garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and the shallots. Saute for just a minute to begin to toast the shallots and garlic to develop the flavors for the shallot and garlic.
- Add in the shrimp and season with salt and pepper.
- Saute the shrimp for 1-2 minutes, just until the shrimp begins to curl.
- Remove the shrimp to a plate.
- Add the wine and lemon juice to the skillet, and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. All those little bits will help to flavor the sauce.
- Simmer the sauce, allowing the wine to reduce by half.
- Once reduced, add in an additional tablespoon of butter, which will allow the shrimp scampi sauce to have a rich finish.
- Once the butter has melted, add the shrimp back into the skillet, along with the lemon zest, and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the shrimp is pink and firm.
- At this point, the pasta should be cooked. Drain the pasta, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking liquid.
- Add the pasta, reserved liquid, and an additional tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and toss to combine.
- Heat for 1 minute over low heat just for the flavors to develop and the sauce to coat the pasta.
- Turn off the heat, top with parsley and serve the Shrimp Scampi Pasta immediately.
However, you can also prepare this Shrimp Scampi without the pasta. Simply omit the pasta from the recipe and reduce the oil from 3 tablespoons to 2 tablespoons. Serve the Shrimp Scampi with a side salad and crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce.
Shrimp Scampi is always best when enjoyed immediately after preparation. However, you can store leftover shrimp scampi and pasta in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Add a splash of stock or water before reheating to keep the pasta from drying out.
FAQs on Shrimp Scampi Recipe
It is best to use raw shrimp so that the shrimp can be infused with rich garlic sauce.
Yes! In fact, it will add a lot of richness to your sauce. However, for ease of eating and less mess, I prefer using shelled shrimp. Keep in mind it will take about 5 minutes longer to cook shrimp with shells.
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Shrimp Scampi Pasta
- 16 ounces angel hair pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter divided
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 2 shallots finely diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic about 3-4 cloves
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 ½ pounds large or extra-large shrimp shelled and deveined
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more to taste
- 1 fresh lemon juice, and zest
- ⅓ cup chopped parsley
- Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil and salt well with kosher salt. Add in the angel hair pasta and cook for 1 minute less than the package directions state. Drain the pasta, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking liquid.
- In a large, deep nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add in the garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and shallots. Saute for 1 minute, just to begin to toast the shallots. Add the shrimp, salt, and pepper to the skillet and saute for just 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp to a plate.
- Add the wine, or stock, and lemon juice to the skillet, and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Let the wine reduce by half and then add in the additional tablespoon of butter. Once the butter has melted, add the shrimp back into the skillet. Add the lemon zest cook for 1-2 minutes or until the shrimp is pink and firm.
- Add the cooked pasta, reserved liquid, parsley, and an additional tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and toss to coat. Heat over low heat for 1 minute just to combine everything. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve immediately.