Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Shrimp Scampi and Fettuccine


Shrimp scampi is an iconic dish served throughout America at nearly all levels of cuisine. You can throw it on all sorts of things from sandwiches, to pizza and even soups. Here we will be throwing it on some pasta. I think this is the best way to make shrimp scampi since pasta is usually the most reliable way to serve seafood.

While I used fettuccine for this dish nearly any string pasta such as spaghetti or angel hair will work. Or, don't even make the pasta, just eat the shrimp by themselves. A nice piece of garlic bread and some shrimp scampi will probably fill you up for dinner and cut down on cooking time since there is no pasta to make.

As always, I have a few tips you should consider before you make this. Here they are:
  • Buy the largest, freshest shrimp possible. They not only look better in the end, they will also taste better. Buy fresh not frozen, if possible. If they are frozen, defrost them by leaving them in a cold water bath until they are completely defrosted.
  • Boil your water correctly. I can not stress this enough.
  • Buy high quality pasta. The small amount of extra money you shell out will be worth it. I prefer to use De Cecco pasta myself. 
  • If you don't want to buy fresh parsley, or you can't, do not use dried parsley to substitute. It's the worst dried herb... ever. (In my opinion.)
  • Do not add cheese to this after it is done. Seafood and cheese do not mix. Ask any real Italian or Frenchman. You should taste the sea in your seafood dish, not cheese. Cheese has flavors that will mask the delicate flavors of seafood.
Since some people don't know how to peel and devein, here is an instructional video on how to do so:


Shrimp Scampi and Fettuccine:
1 lbs peeled and deveined shrimp
Scant 1/4 cup light olive oil
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons crushed garlic, (about 4 to 5 cloves)
1/2 cup dry white wine (preferably Italian)
5 to 6 tablespoons butter
1 lbs pasta such as fettuccine, spaghetti or angel hair
1 cup reserved pasta water
1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley

1. Get a large pot of boiling water ready.
2. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is nearly smoking add the shrimp and cook completely, turning all of them over once for a full cook. This should take 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Remove the shrimp from the pan and reserve.
4. Add garlic to the pan along with the wine. Stir the sauce and let it reduce for 1 to 2 minutes, being sure not to brown the garlic.
5. Reduce heat to medium, add the butter and stir in until it is completely melted. When the sauce is ready, put it on the lowest heat possible while you cook the pasta, or turn it off completely.
6. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until it is al dente, or even a little under al dente. Reserve the 1 cup of pasta water and drain the pasta.
7. Bring the pan back up to medium heat, add the pasta water. Get the sauce warm, then add the pasta and shrimp; toss to coat. Let the Pasta cook in the sauce for 1 minute and do not stir.  Add the parsley and toss again. Plate the pasta and add salt and pepper to taste.

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