In the Italian language Scampi means shrimp, so to call a dish Shrimp Scampi, it means we are actually saying Shrimp Shrimp. There are a few different ways to make a scampi sauce but they all include garlic. My favorite version is a little off the standard with the addition of a little Marinara or plum tomatoes. You will fine some scampi sauces include capers and lemon, or simply garlic in a butter wine sauce.
To begin with we need shrimp. Growing up I remember my father telling me when he was in the service stationed in Louisiana in the 50’s, only poor people ate shrimp, they were considered a throw away food. Shrimp have become more of a luxury food but pound for pound shrimp are relatively inexpensive, a nice 16-20 count shrimp (meaning how many come in pound) are usually $10.00 lb or less; 21-25 count are even more economical. I wouldn’t use anything smaller as an entree shrimp.
A lot of today’s shrimp is farmed, many coming from China, or India. I would avoid Chinese Shrimp; you never know what they are feeding on or the reliability of the beds. When looking for shrimp you should look for “wild caught” or farmed shrimp from a reliable source. Wild Caught shrimp will always be better, although farmed shrimp have improved greatly. The best shrimp are generally gulf shrimp, or pacific shrimp. When they are available Australian Shrimp are also greatly prized. So with that being said look for a reliable source and don’t be afraid to ask where they are from. Since we will be using Garlic, the same can be said about Garlic….stay away from Chinese Garlic, look for the label or ask, look for Garlic form the US or Mexico. Most loose garlic is not of Chinese Origin but you should ask. So let’s Begin.
1 1/4 16-20 count shrimp
6 oz of sliced mushrooms (optional)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 oz white wine
6 oz chicken stock
1/4 cup marinara
2 Tbsp Grated Romano Cheese
1 Tbsp Chopped Italian Parsley
Black pepper to taste
Dash of granulated garlic
Dash of granulated onion
1 Tbsp butter dredged in flour to thicken sauce
1 lb Linguine or Spaghetti cooked Al Dente’
Let’s first begin by getting our pasta water on and ready, remember to add a little sea salt to the water. Peel and clean your shrimp, running a small knife along the back side to remove any debris from the shrimp, then rinse. Chop your garlic and parsley, measure out your other ingredients and we can begin.
Find a sauté pan large enough to accommodate the shrimp and other ingredients without crowding. When you place the pasta into the water you can begin to cook your scampi, timing is everything. You have 11 minutes to get your scampi ready.
Add the olive oil and garlic to the pan, as the garlic starts to sizzle add your shrimp, when the shrimp are about half way cooked add your mushrooms and continue to sauté.
When the shrimp are almost done, hit with the white wine to stop the cooking and deglaze the pan. Now add your stock, marinara, spices, cheese and fresh parsley. At this time you may want to remove the shrimp from the sauce while it reduces, over cooking the shrimp is very easy to do and makes them tough. As the sauce reduces slightly you may add your butter dredged in flour to finish thickening the sauce. As you drain your pasta, put the shrimp back into the sauce and get the sauce nice and hot.
Place your portion of pasta into a pasta bowl or dinner plate and divide the shrimp among the three dishes and then divide the sauce.
Another nice addition to this dish is Lump Crabmeat. Shrimp Scampi also makes a nice topping for grilled or broiled seafood, or as a pizza topping or a steak topping.