Shrimp scampi

Editor’s note: This column originally ran in the March 2, 2012 issue of the Banner. 

The hubby used to order shrimp scampi quite frequently when we would go out for Italian food. He loved the dish, and it didn’t look terribly complicated, so I figured we could learn to make it at home. Garlic? Check. Wine? Check. Lots of butter? Uh, yeah, check.

We came up with this recipe, which is actually quite simple and quick. It is, essentially, shrimp that are sautéed, and then cooked in a garlicky butter sauce with a few extra seasonings. And, because you’re making the dish yourself, you can adjust the amount of butter to suit your tastes and diet. I can almost guarantee that the quarter-cup of butter that’s called for here is still significantly less than you’d find in restaurant portions.

Frozen shrimp work just fine in this recipe. (And, considering our “geographical center of North America” status, they might be your best bet.) Just thaw the shrimp quickly in a bowl of cool water, remove the tails, if necessary, and then pat the shrimp dry with paper towels before adding them to the pan. That way the shrimp will develop more flavor on the outside instead of steaming.

Not a fan of shrimp? What a coincidence! Neither am I. I make a chicken version for myself. It’s almost the same, except that you chop the chicken in bite-sized pieces and sauté it until it’s cooked before you actually start the recipe. Otherwise, the garlic tends to burn before the chicken is cooked through. And go ahead and make the sauce in the same pan that you used to cook the chicken. That will add even more flavor when you deglaze the pan. I also like to add a few teaspoons of lemon juice along with the wine, to give the sauce some tang.

You can use any shape or size of pasta. I prefer linguine, but the hubby likes the thinner cappellini, or angel hair pasta. And whenever he makes this recipe, he always grins and pulls out a few pieces of my hair when I wander through the kitchen. “Because the recipe calls for angel hair.”

You can’t make that up.

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