What is Shrimp Scampi?

Malcolm Tatum

Shrimp scampi is a wonderful pasta dish that includes the use of some type of pasta along with different types of shrimp. Usually, large shrimp are used for the dish although it is possible to make use of smaller or popcorn shrimp in the recipe. Along with the pasta and shrimp, the preparation of shrimp scampi generally includes such ingredients as butter, white wine and garlic.


While shrimp scampi is sometimes thought of as being an elegant dish, the fact is that a basic recipe can be prepared using a skillet and a pot for the pasta. After melting the butter in the skillet, the deveined shrimp are sautéed in the skillet. As the shrimp begin to firm and take on a pink hue, other ingredients are added to help create a thin sauce. One simple recipe for the sauce includes lemon juice, a dash of white wine, and green onions and finely chopped parsley to taste. Since the shrimp does not need to cook for very long, the sauce is only allowed to cook for another moment or two.

Shrimp scampri can be prepared using a skillet.
Shrimp scampri can be prepared using a skillet.

While the shrimp is the centerpiece of shrimp scampi, the pasta provides a great deal of the texture and the visual appeal of the dish. Linguini or angel hair pasta are favorite options, although thicker spaghetti or even egg noodles can be used to create the bed for the shrimp and sauce. The cooked pasta is drained and arranged on the plate with a slightly hollowed out section in the middle of the bed of pasta. The cooked shrimp and the sauce are placed in the middle section. The presentation can be enhanced by placing a sprig or two of parsley in strategic position.

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Shrimp scampi typically includes garlic.
Shrimp scampi typically includes garlic.

While the dish does appear elegant, the process is relatively simple and takes very little time to prepare. Dried pasta can be put on to cook while the shrimp and sauce is prepared in the skillet. Purchasing shrimp that is already deveined and ready for cooking will also speed up the process. All in all, it is possible to prepare shrimp scampi in as little as ten to fifteen minutes.

This same basic recipe can also be employed with other crustaceans as well. Along with shrimp pasta, a basic scampi recipe works well with various types of shellfish, including lobster tails. While the cooking time for the seafood may vary, the same basic ingredients for the sauce and the options for the pasta remain the same.

Parsley is typically used in scampi dishes.
Parsley is typically used in scampi dishes.

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Discussion Comments


@ Framemaker- Just to throw it out there, langostino is not actually a lobster or shrimp; they are more closely related to hermit crabs than either of the aforementioned crustaceans. That being said, langostinos make an excellent substitute to shrimp or lobster in a dish.

You can make an easy shrimp scampi (or any other seafood scampi for that matter) by sautéing shallots and garlic in half butter and half extra virgin olive oil. Once the shallots and garlic are aromatic, add a punch of red pepper flakes, your seafood, and a pinch of sea salt and crushed black pepper corns. Sauté for a few minutes then deglaze the pan with white wine and lemon juice. Toss the scampi with some fresh fettuccine, garnish with shaved Parmesan and a touch of chopped Italian parsley, and serve.


When I was in Tallahassee I had a Cajun shrimp scampi that was made with gulf shrimp and langostino lobsters. It was spicy, buttery, and a little bit smokey. If I had the recipe I would share, but I have only had it once.

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