grannie geek, delicious shrimp scampi

Richard and I ate this for dinner last night.  It’s not the first time I’ve prepared scampi, but it is so flavorful, heightened by fresh garlic, lemon, olive oil and butter.  If you’re a garlic fan, this is the dish for you!  We’re huge garlic fans – this is very popular with my family.  Scampi is a very quick recipe.  It’s perfect for diner, to be served as an appetizer rather than shrimp cocktail, or as a late night supper.

Let’s compare three different scampi recipes from unique sources:  Lidia’s Italy, Shrimp Scampi with Spaghetti, and Shrimp Scampi from The Sopranos Family Cookbook.  Lidia Bastianich  is a well-known Italian chef and restaurateur in New York.  I lost touch with her programming, but a couple of months ago happily found her again on PBS Lidia’s Italy,
I like watching Lidia cook.  Sometimes she will invite her mother in for a taste of dessert and a cup of coffee at the end of her show.  She reminds me of my Polish grandmother.  The recipe from the Soprano cookbook is very straight forward.  You can’t go wrong with any of these dishes.

It’s difficult for me to judge which one is most authentic – I’m not Italian.  However, all three are delicious!  Lidia wrote on her website that in her first restaurant in Queens in 1971, she said the dish was traditionally prepared for men (gees – all the garlic!).  Scampi was served with risotto or broccoli sautéed in garlic and olive oil.  Only one of the recipes calls for tossing the shrimp and sauce with pasta, which is what I cooked.  I guess it’s up to you to decide the best side dish.  A salad would be nice, even the scampi on top of a salad with a lemon vinaigrette.  I very badly wanted some sort of nice crunchy loaf of bread, but I wanted dessert, too.  Sigh . . .

grannie geek, three shrimp scampis

Each recipe basically calls for the same ingredients:  shrimp, butter, olive oil, white wine, shallots, garlic, and parsley.  Interestingly, Lidia’s calls for thyme and bread crumbs, too.  And her technique is very different from the other two.

The first recipe I’ll share is for Shrimp Scampi and Spaghetti that I made.  The other two I’ll put into a printable format, so you can make comparisons.

I cannot get fresh shrimp here in Billings.  So, I buy 2-pound bags of frozen raw shrimp, which is what is usually sold at supermarket seafood counters. I got 31-40 count, but 15-20 would be even better.  Thaw the shrimp, and put on a plate lined with paper towels.  You want to drain off as much water as you can, because you want the shrimp to saute, not steam.

Put a 6-quart pot on the stove and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, add a couple of Tablespoons of salt – I had sea salt on hand.  Cook the spaghetti according to package directions – mine took 12 minutes to become al dente.  Reserve a cup of the pasta water, drain.  (If you are a serious multi-tasker, you can cook the shrimp while the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, and when the pasta is finished cooking, using tongs, add the pasta directly to the skillet rather than draining it first.)

Next, in a large skillet, melt 2 Tablespoons butter with 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat.  Saute the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes until the shallots are translucent, 3-4 minutes.  (Keep an eye on the garlic.  You don’t want it to brown.  So you may have to adjust the heat.)  Sprinkle the shrimp with salt and pepper.  Add the shrimp in an even layer in the pan.  Saute for 1-2 minutes per side until the shrimp have just turned pink.  Remove to a plate and keep warm.  I put mine in a 170°F oven.  It won’t be there long.

grannie geek, shrimp scampi

Add the wine and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil.  Add 2 Tablespoons butter and 2 Tablespoons olive oil.  When the butter is melted, return the shrimp to the skillet.  Add the cooked pasta, and as much of the reserved pasta water as you need to thoroughly coat the shrimp and spaghetti.

Sprinkle with fresh parsley, squeeze 1/2 lemon over the dish, and serve.  I like to bring a hunk of Parmesan cheese to the table to grate over the pasta.

How easy is that!  Buon Appetito!!

Shrimp Scampi with Spaghetti
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A very quick and flavorful pasta dish with plenty of garlic and lemon.
Recipe type: Main Dishes, Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 pound of spaghetti
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large shallot, finely minced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound of raw shrimp, shelled, deveined, tails removed. Thaw frozen shrimp and drain on paper towels
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  1. Put a 6-quart pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add 2 Tablespoon salt. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions to al dente. Reserve one cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  2. In a 12" skillet, melt 2 Tablespoons butter in 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until the shallots are translucent. Do not let the garlic brown - adjust stove temperature accordingly.
  3. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Add to the skillet in a single layer. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side, until the shrimp begins to turn pink. Remove shrimp to a plate and keep warm.
  4. Add wine and lemon juice to the skillet and bring to a boil. Add 2 Tablespoons butter and 2 Tablespoons olive oil. When the butter is melted, return the shrimp to the pan.
  5. Add the pasta and enough of the reserved pasta water to thoroughly coat the pasta with the sauce ingredients.
  6. Sprinkle chopped parsley over the top. Squeeze additional fresh lemon juice over the dish and serve.
Serve grated Parmesan on the side.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4-6

Shrimp Scampi
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main Dishes, Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 2
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 Tablespoons very finely chopped fresh flat leave parsley, plus a few sprigs for garnish
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon Wedges
  1. In a large skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium-low heat. When the butter foam subsides, stir in the garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is lightly brown, about 7 minutes. Do not let the garlic brown.
  2. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the shrimp and salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes, turning the shrimp once, until they are just pink. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice, and cook 1 minute more.
  3. Serve garnished with lemon wedges and parsley sprigs.
This recipe is from The Sopranos Family Cookbook, as compiled by Artie Bucco
written by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone

Shrimp Scampi "Scampi in Umido"
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main Dishes, Appetizer, Seafood
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4-6
  • 3 shallots, peeled and chopped, about ½ cup
  • 7 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds extra-large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon dry bread crumbs, if needed
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  1. Combine the shallots, five garlic cloves, and 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a mini-food processor and process to make a smooth paste.
  2. Pour 6 Tablespoons olive oil and the remaining garlic into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Let the garlic sizzle for a minute, then add half of the shrimp and all of the thyme sprigs. Season with ½ teaspoon salt, and cook until the shrimp are seared, but not fully cooked, about 1-2 minutes. Remove to a place and repeat with the remaining shrimp and another ½ teaspoon salt. Remove the shrimp and thyme from the skillet to the plate.
  3. Add the remaining 4 Tablespoons olile oil and the garlic-shallot paste to the same skillet set over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the paste has dried out and begins to stick to the bottom of the skillet, about 2-3 minutes. Return the thyme to the skillet, and pour in the white wine, lemon juice, the remaining 1½ teaspoons salt, 4 Tablespoons butter, and 1 cup water. Bring the sauce to a rapid boil, and cook until reduced by half, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. When the sauce has reduced, whisk in the remaining butter and return the shrimp to the pan. Cook and toss until the shrimp are coated with the sauce and just cooked through, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Stir in the parsley. If the sauce seems too thin, stir in the bread crumbs and bring to a boil just to thicken.
  6. Serve immediately.
Shrimp Scampi, Scampi in Unado from "Lidia's Italy in America," Lidia Bastianich. You can also watch Lidia's Italy on PBS stations.