Recipe Review

Ina Garten’s Shrimp Scampi Is for Lemon-Lovers

published Sep 20, 2022
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Ina Garten's shrimp scampi recipe in a pink bowl.
Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen; Headshot: Getty

I’ve been a fan of Ina Garten for as long as I can remember. I grew up watching The Barefoot Contessa, swooning over her effortlessly cool dinner parties, fuss-free recipes, and laid-back attitude. There’s just something about Ina’s recipes that make them feel special. So when picking out which recipes to include in our shrimp scampi battle, I knew I needed to include hers.

Ina’s shrimp scampi recipe is unique in that it doesn’t include white wine. This is a great option for people looking for alcohol-free recipes, but I was curious if it would still taste like a classic scampi. Instead of the wine, Ina doubles down on the lemon with a generous amount of juice, zest, and actual slices of lemon in the sauce. The recipe sounded bold and I was eager to give it a try, so I headed into my kitchen and cooked it up.

Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen; Headshot: Getty

How to Make Ina Garten’s Shrimp Scampi

Ina’s shrimp scampi is one of the simplest recipes I tested and comes together in under 20 minutes. You’ll start by cooking some linguine in salted, boiling water with a drizzle of oil in it. While the pasta is cooking, heat butter and olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add garlic and sauté for just a minute, then add your shrimp, salt, and pepper. Cook until the shrimp turn pink, then remove the pan from the heat. Add lemon juice and zest, red pepper flakes, chopped fresh parsley, and slices of lemon. To finish it, toss everything together then add your cooked pasta.

My Honest Review of Ina Garten’s Shrimp Scampi Recipe

This pasta was lemony, bright, bold, and flavorful — but it didn’t taste like a classic shrimp scampi. The addition of lemon juice, zest, and whole lemon slices overpowered the pasta and made it a bit one-note. Without the addition of white wine, the pasta tasted mostly of lemon juice and garlic and was missing a lot of the nuance of the other recipes. Yes, it was delicious, and I did eat the entire pan, but it just wasn’t what I was expecting. Instead of being scampi, it was more of a lemony shrimp pasta with garlic and red pepper flakes. Delicious? Yes. Scampi? Questionable.

If you’re looking for a lemony shrimp pasta, I would confidently recommend this recipe. It’s delicious, super simple, and comes together quickly. But if you’re searching for a classic shrimp scampi, this might not be the best recipe.

If You’re Making Ina Garten’s Shrimp Scampi Recipe, a Few Tips

Before you head into the kitchen to make this recipe, keep these tips in mind.

  • Skip the oil in the pasta water. Ina instructs you to add vegetable oil to your pasta water, but you can feel free to skip this without worrying.
  • Increase the amount of red pepper flakes. Ina only calls for 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, so feel free to double or triple it if you want your scampi to be spicier.
  • Keep an eye on the garlic. The garlic gets added to the pan before the shrimp, so keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. If the garlic starts to darken in color at all, immediately turn your heat down to low.

Rating: 8.5/10

Have you ever made Ina Garten’s shrimp scampi recipe? Let us know in the comments!