Who doesn’t love a dish that tastes as amazing as garlic butter shrimp scampi and takes just 15 minutes to prepare? Serve this easy dish over pasta or with a loaf of crusty bread to sop up the delicious sauce.
Shrimp scampi, Italian word for shrimp, is one of those incredible recipes that everyone should have on repeat. It’s easy enough for someone brand new to cooking to pull off yet it’s delicious and simple enough that even expert chefs return to it again and again. It’s also low in carbs so even people on the keto diet can enjoy it without any guilt. It’s one of my favorite easy recipes!
What is shrimp scampi sauce made of?
You wouldn’t think such a simple dish made with just 8 ingredients (9 if you count salt and 10 if you add a sprinkle of crushed red pepper) would have so much flavor! The sauce is absolutely to die for and it’s just begging for a loaf of crusty bread for dipping. Here’s the entire list of ingredients to make shrimp scampi:
- Extra-virgin olive oil: Use high-quality oil to truly bring out the flavor.
- Minced shallot: Shallots add a delicate and sweet flavor with a hint of sharpness.
- Minced garlic: Sautéing garlic produces a delicious base to this classic dish.
- Dry white wine: The wine intensifies the flavors of this recipe. Choose a wine that’s on the drier side such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinto Grigio.
- Jumbo shrimp: Frozen or fresh uncooked shrimp is up to you. Peeled is easier but unpeeled will be more flavorful.
- Unsalted butter: Unsalted butter allows you to control the amount salt that is added to this dish.
- Fresh lemon juice: The tangy citrus taste brightens and enhances the other flavors of a dish
- Chopped flat-leaf parsley: Parsley adds fresh, clean taste with slightly peppery and citrusy notes plus a little brightness.
- Coarse salt: The salt enhances the flavor.
- Crushed red pepper (optional): Red pepper flakes deliver a balanced heat.
If you have all of the ingredients on hand but are missing the shallot, go ahead and skip it. Although it does add another layer of flavor, this recipe is called garlic butter shrimp scampi, which is the most important (and delicious) part.
Best Shrimp Scampi Pasta
Strand pasta, long pasta rods, that are thinner, are the best pair for shrimp scampi, but it’s really up to the cook and their own imagination on which pasta to choose. Angel hair, vermicelli and linguine are all long and thinner pastas and perfect for shrimp scampi. Penne and Farfalle make for a more interesting presentation and bucatini has a spaghetti round shape with a hole that goes all the way through the pasta strand, which makes for a fun experience.
Gluten-free, whole wheat, cauliflower, quinoa and other alternative pastas are perfectly acceptable to substitute in.
How to make shrimp scampi from scratch
The only thing you want to be mindful of when making this dish is not to overcook the shrimp. Shrimp cooks very quickly so be mindful to remove it immediately once it’s just cooked through.
Shrimp scampi is made by sauteing minced shallots and garlic in a little oil, quickly cooking the shrimp while reducing a small amount of white wine, then removing the shrimp temporarily so they don’t overcook. Butter and fresh lemon juice is then added before adding the shrimp back into the sauce with some chopped parsley. A sprinkle of salt and, if you prefer, a pinch of crushed red pepper finishes the dish.
It’s possible to leave the shrimp in the pan the entire time, you just have to be experienced enough to time it right so the shrimp don’t overcook. I tend to leave them in, but I wrote the recipe so they’re removed temporarily from the sauce just to ensure that more novice chefs get the hang of it first.
Best Wine with Shrimp Scampi
Acidic dry white wines that balance out the flavors of the dish such as a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Vermintino pair best with Shrimp Scampi. Avoid oaky whites like chardonnays where the vanilla sweetness conflicts with the garlic. A red wine isn’t recommended but if you absolutely want to use a red wine look for light-bodied red with good acidity levels such as a Pinot Noir or a Syrah.
Drinking wine is not the same as cooking with wine and most of the quality ingredients in an expensive bottle of wine will be burned off. Opt instead for a less expensive or even leftover bottle of wine. However, avoid anything of too low quality such as “Cooking Wine.”
Shrimp Scampi without Wine
The solution to not having white wine on hand when making shrimp scampi is to substitute it with chicken broth. You still get that wonderful flavor from the garlic and lemon and it’s still perfect for tossing with pasta or soaking up the sauce with some bread. You may want to increase the lemon juice a bit, but taste the sauce first.
How do you thicken garlic butter shrimp scampi sauce?
There’s really no need to thicken the sauce since the wine or chicken broth gets reduced once the shrimp is cooked. If you prefer it even thicker, reduce it to down to a third instead of just half.
What to serve with shrimp scampi
A loaf of crusty bread. Or you could try serving it with a loaf of crusty bread. 🤣 I’m clearly a fan of using bread to dip into the luscious garlic butter lemon sauce! I do eat low-carb most of the time though, so I usually opt for serving it over sauteed zucchini. Tossing it with cooked pasta is also very common. And it’s a dream over mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower.
- 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 2 lb peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- Juice from ½ lemon
- ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Coarse salt
- A pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
- Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and, when it's shimmering, add the minced shallot. Saute until the shallot starts to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute one more minute, stirring frequently.
- Add the shrimp to the pan (in one layer if possible) and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine, then flip the shrimp to cook the other side. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the wine has reduced by half and the shrimp are cooked through. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add the butter one piece at a time and stir continuously until melted. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley, then season with the salt and sprinkle on the crushed red pepper (if using). Add the shrimp back to the pot briefly to heat.
Serve this over cooked pasta or with a loaf of crusty bread to sop up the sauce. It's also delicious served over cooked vegetables, such as zucchini. Or do all three!
Chicken broth may be substituted for the wine.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 564Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 540mgSodium: 2273mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 53g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.