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Classic Shrimp Scampi Is the Best 15-Minute Meal


This is my favorite circa 1981 ! (Or was it 1982?) Either way, you really can't go wrong with classic  like this one including butter, garlic, lemon, and shrimp. The best part is that it's comes together quickly—I'm talking 15 minutes quick. Fresh lemon juice (don't use bottled here) and fresh herbs make it a light meal that's actually very satisfying. Make it for friends and serve with , a leafy green salad, and . Or just eat it all yourself straight from the pot. That's OK, too. 

What's in shrimp scampi sauce?

All of the best things in life: butter, wine, and lemon! Garlic and onion deepen the flavor of the sauce and basil and parsley sprinkled in at the end bring a burst of freshness.


It's incredibly simple in order to enhance the shrimp but not overpower it.

What pasta shape goes with shrimp?

I love using angel hair pasta for shrimp scampi because it cooks really quickly, but you can use any long, thin that you'd like. Spaghetti, linguine, and fettuccini are all great choices. 

Should you leave the shrimp tail on for shrimp scampi?

This is a matter of personal preference when cooking . Leaving the shrimp tail on makes for a nice presentation, and it can also add more flavor to the scampi. But tail-off shrimp is perfectly fine for this. At most grocery stores, you can buy one-pound bags of frozen raw shrimp that have already been peeled, deveined, and had the tails removed.


This shrimp works great for scampi, plus buying it this way saves time in the kitchen. If you use frozen shrimp, just be sure to thaw it first.

Do you use dry or sweet white wine for shrimp scampi?

Go for a dry and crisp this dish—a sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio works well.

What can I use instead of white wine in shrimp scampi?

There are lots of out there. Try using chicken or vegetable broth, but know that you might need to add in more lemon or a touch of vinegar (something with some acid) to give the sauce more flavor.  

2 tbsp.

olive oil

4 tbsp.



whole medium onion, finely diced


cloves garlic cloves, minced or pressed


1 lb.

large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Juice of 2 lemons

1/2 c.

white wine

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste


dashes hot sauce, plus more to taste (I used Tabasco)

8 oz.

angel hair pasta

1/2 c.

grated parmesan cheese

Chopped fresh basil, to taste

Chopped fresh parsley, to taste

Step  1 Boil water for the pasta; have it ready.  Step  2 In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the shrimp, then stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Squeeze in the lemon juice. Add the wine, salt, pepper, and hot sauce.


Stir and reduce the heat to low.  Step  3 Throw the angel hair pasta into the boiling water. Cook until just done or al dente. Drain, reserving 1 to 2 cups of pasta water. Step  4 Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the pasta and toss, adding a splash of pasta water if it needs to be thinned. Taste for seasonings, adding salt and pepper if needed.  Step  5 Top with the grated parmesan and chopped parsley and basil. Serve immediately.

Danielle Daly

Shrimp Scampi reminds me of khaki shorts.

Little silver hair clips threaded with thin satin ribbon, finished with a neat little bow at the end.


I had red, pink, purple, and white. What colors did you have?

Shrimp Scampi also reminds me of Foreigner. The old Foreigner, not the “I Wanna Know What Love Is” Foreigner. And I know they’re probably the same, but they aren’t in my heart.

Seriously. C’mon. Listen to “Waiting for a Girl Like You.” Ingest it. Feel it. Remember slow dancing with Stevo at the youth group dance. You’re wearing a Gunne Sax dress and he loves Carrie and not you. This dance is a sympathy dance. Stevo likes you as a friend, nothing more. Your red bangs are frizzy. Carrie is tan.

Now listen to “I Wanna Know What Love Is.


” Close your eyes. It’s 1984. Stevo is so yesterday. You’ve outgrown him by two inches and now you’ve moved on to Simon LeBon. You don’t want Foreigner singing 1984 love ballads. You want them singing 1981 love ballads. Or, even better: “Head Games” or “Cold as Ice.” Not “I Wanna Know What Love Is.”

Anyway, the whole thing just reminds me of Shrimp Scampi, the classic late seventies/early eighties throw-together meal of shrimp, butter, garlic, and lemon. I throw in wine (of course) and a dash or two of hot sauce in an effort to be weird, but it’s hard to do too much to improve on the original.


I use angel hair because it’s nice with the very light sauce, but thin spaghetti or linguine works well, too. I wouldn’t do a short penne or rigatoni; too much noodle, man.

And about Shrimp Scampi: I think I ate it with Stevo once. Probably at Carrie’s house.

(See you in July, Carrums! I love you and your tan. Always have.)

(And so has Stevo.)

Finely chop up some onion.


Then grab three or four garlic cloves (depending on their size)…

And mince ’em up really finely.

In a large skillet melt some butter with a little olive oil. (I took out some of this; don’t be alarmed.)


Don’t be like me and walk away from the skillet long enough for the butter to brown. Then add the onion and garlic.

Saute the onions and garlic for a couple of minute, or until translucent.

Inhale. Exhale. Sing songs of praise for aromas like this.

Next, continue cooking.

Throw in a pound of peeled, deveined shrimp.


Pour in a half a cup of dry white wine. Give or take.

Use the freakiest, wackiest, most bizarre looking pink alien claw you have ever imagined to squeeze some lemon juice into the shrimp. Close your eyes briefly and imagine what life would be like if your hands were in high demand for photo shoots. Then slap yourself, but not because you loathe your hands. Because you need to open your eyes and keep cooking.


Add a couple of dashes of hot sauce to the pan. It just adds a little kick.

Finally, sprinkle in some salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Let this bubble up for a few minutes.

At the very last minute, throw in the angel hair since it only takes a couple of minutes to cook.


Add the cooked angel hair and toss it in the sauce.

It’s hard to tell from the photo, but the pasta is coated with the delicious buttery/garlicy/lemony/shrimpy pan juices. And add the pasta in a couple of batches; stop adding it if it looks like there aren’t enough juices to keep it moist and coated.

End with some chopped herbs (parsley and basil are good)…

And some grated Parmesan.

Dinner is served!

Enjoy this easy weeknight meal, guys.

Here’s the printable recipe:

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