There's just something about shrimp scampi that causes oohs and aahs to break out around the table. Perhaps it's the combination of tender shrimp bathed in a buttery white wine sauce, or maybe it's the way everything gets swirled together with a hearty dash of pepper and fresh torn parsley.
For the knowing cook, this is one of the fastest dishes you can make on a weeknight — especially when everything (from the protein to the pasta) comes together in one pot. So invite your friends over tonight and tell them you're cooking up something fancy.
A Simple Pasta Dinner That's a Bit of a Show-Off
This shrimp scampi comes together quickly and all in one pot. The pasta is boiled in the pot and drained, then it waits patiently while the shrimp is cooked in the same pot before the pasta is tossed back in and everything is combined.
It's a dish that tastes like a meal you might pay too much for at a nice restaurant. I believe we have the butter and big splash of white wine to thank for that; together they make a luxurious sauce that infuses flavor into the shrimp and coats every bit of the al dente pasta. This is a twirling-your-fork, lick-your-bowl-clean sort of affair.
One-Pot Shrimp Scampi
dry spaghettini or thin spaghetti
1 1/2 pounds
peeled and deveined uncooked medium shrimp
Freshly ground black pepper
dry white wine
red pepper flakes
cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Juice from 1/2 a medium lemon
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 7 to 9 minutes, or according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and set it aside.
Pat the shrimp dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. In the same large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 minute. Flip the shrimp and add the wine, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the shrimp are just opaque and the wine has reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat, add the butter cubes, and stir until melted. Add the pasta, parsley, and lemon juice. Toss, adding some of the reserved pasta water, tablespoon by tablespoon, to loosen the pasta and form a sauce that evenly coats the pasta. You might not use all the pasta water. Serve immediately, as it does not keep well.