I have been making shrimp scampi for family and friends for more years than I care to remember and have shared my recipe often. Last night, our neighborhood friends Chris and Kelly joined us for dinner and, since it was the end of a busy week, I went with my tried-and-true old favorite. No stress and very little mess—a perfect meal for simply relaxing at home with friends.
I prepped everything ahead of time (including roasted veggies and an arugula mixed salad with tangy, tart cherry balsamic) so we could relax and enjoy the company of our friends over a glass of wine as I cooked. The beauty of an open kitchen is being able to chat and enjoy the evening while dinner is being prepared.
An hour or so ahead of time, I peeled and deveined nearly two pounds of caught-wild Gulf shrimp; rinsed & dried them, then rolled them up in a clean kitchen towel and popped them in the fridge.
Next, I sliced one lemon, discarding each end. Then I quartered the second lemon to serve on each plate for an extra squeeze. Prepping the garnish, I washed, dried and roughly chopped about a half cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley and set it aside.
In a large saucepan, I heated six tablespoons of unsalted butter with a half cup of extra virgin olive oil. I added about a teaspoon (or so) of salt, then threw in four smashed and chopped garlic cloves before tossing in my lemon slices to let them slowly melt into the butter sauce. (I kept this gently warmed over the burner until time to add the shrimp.)
Just before our guests arrived, I filled a large pot with water and a scant handful of kosher salt–probably a couple of tablespoons.
As we enjoyed appetizers, I put the pasta water on to boil and sauteed the shrimp in the garlic butter, olive oil & lemon sauce about four-to-six minutes, until just tender and cooked through. While the shrimp were sauteeing, I cooked the linguini al dente; then drained and tossed it with the scampi in a large bowl. The chopped parsley on top gave the dish a nice pop of color and brightened the flavor.
It was a perfect Friday night dinner with good friends. After dinner, we sat around the table, enjoyed a light fruit tart for dessert, poured more wine, and chatted the night away.
Wine pairing recommendations: Pinot Grigio perfectly complements this meal. Try Santa Margarita if you care to splurge a little. Wine Folly offers a nice review of the three main types of Pinot Grigio in this article.
Note: We had enough leftovers for another full meal. It would have easily served six or more. Nothing wrong with leftovers!