Lidia Bastianich’s Shrimp Scampi Is Perfect in Every Way
If you’re a fan of Italian cooking, chances are you’re familiar with Lidia Bastianich. An icon of Italian cooking, Lidia has written cookbooks, hosted TV shows, owned restaurants, and has won a plethora of awards. It’s safe to say she has influenced the culinary world in immeasurable ways. So when picking out recipes to include in our shrimp scampi battle, including Lidia’s recipe was an obvious choice.
Lidia’s scampi recipe uses a puréed paste of shallots and garlic to create the base. She flavors the sauce with thyme, parsley, and a generous amount of white wine. (More than twice as much as the other recipes I tested!) The recipe looked like it was leaning heavily into a white wine flavor profile, so I was eager to see how it would taste. I headed into my kitchen and gave it a try.
Get the recipe: Lidia Bastianich’s Shrimp Scampi
How to Make Lidia Bastianich’s Shrimp Scampi
To make Lidia’s scampi, start by blending together shallots, garlic, and oil in a food processor to make a paste. Set that aside, then add olive oil and more garlic to a pan and sizzle for just a minute. Add half of your shrimp and some fresh thyme and season with salt. Sear the shrimp, then transfer onto a plate. Add the rest of the shrimp, sear them, and transfer them (along with the thyme sprigs) onto the same plate.
Add some more olive oil to the pan and add your shallot paste. Cook until the paste starts sticking to the pan, then add wine, lemon juice, butter, water, salt, and the reserved thyme. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook until reduced by half. Whisk in additional butter, add the seared shrimp to the sauce, and let them simmer until fully cooked. To finish the sauce, stir in chopped parsley and add some breadcrumbs to thicken it up. (The breadcrumbs are listed as optional, but I ended up adding them.)
My Honest Review of Lidia Bastianich’s Shrimp Scampi Recipe
This recipe was absolute perfection. It was bright, acidic, flavorful, and exactly what I wanted. The shallots and garlic paste gave the scampi a savory foundation that took the recipe to the next level. It was garlicky, slightly sweet, and complex. And the addition of thyme gave it a subtle herby flavor that was a welcome addition.
I was worried that two cups of white wine would be too much and overpower the scampi, but I was wrong. The white wine cut through the richness of the butter and thickened into a glossy pan sauce that perfectly coated the shrimp. It made a lot of sauce (the shrimp were practically swimming in it), but it’s the perfect thing to toss with pasta.
The next time I make scampi, I’m definitely going to use this recipe. I would have never thought to use a ground-up paste of shallots as the base for scampi, but now I don’t think I can ever make it any other way.
If You’re Making Lidia Bastianich’s Shrimp Scampi Recipe, a Few Tips
Before you head into the kitchen to make this recipe, keep these tips in mind.
- Don’t be afraid of the salt. The recipe calls for more than two teaspoons of salt, but don’t fret; it helps cut through the richness of the sauce and makes the flavors shine. It might sound like a lot, but it’s not.
- Reduce the sauce for twice as long as the recipe calls for. Lidia’s recipe has you simmer the sauce until reduced by half. The recipe says this will take four to five minutes, but I found it took closer to 10 to achieve a silky, slightly thickened sauce.
- Add the breadcrumbs. If your finished sauce isn’t thick enough, Lidia suggests adding one tablespoon of breadcrumbs to thicken it up. I ended up using the breadcrumbs and loved the final texture of the sauce. It was the perfect consistency and you couldn’t tell the breadcrumbs were there.
Have you ever made Lidia Bastianich’s shrimp scampi recipe? Let us know in the comments!