Lemony Garlicky Shrimp Scampi

Summer foods may be some of my favorites ever. The fresh produce, the bright flavors, it’s basically heaven on Earth. Contrary to the light summer flavors, scampi can sometimes lean on the heavier side – especially when served with a hunk of crusty bread to sop up all of the sauce (don’t get me wrong, sopping up sauce with bread is one of my fortes). BUT, realistically during summer, a heavy pasta dish is not always the best dinner option. This version is a lighter version of a classic you can enjoy guilt free all summer long. Pro tip: to make it even more guilt free swap the spaghetti for a whole wheat option!

Scampi are technically lobster-like shellfish. However, as time has changed recipes, today we make scampi with their more affordable and accessible (at least in the US!) cousin; shrimp. If we can change the main protein in the dish, we can make some other ingredients optional, like white wine and parsley. I use pasta water, in place of the wine, and less butter than a traditional recipe would call for, BUT I still consider this a scampi, and delicious at that!

Summer isn’t here forever which means there’s no better time than now to make this dish. Seriously, go make it, I promise you won’t be disappointed. A hint of butter, delicious garlic, bright lemon, fresh pops of flavor from the tomato and zucchini…. Why are you still reading? Go cook!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Shallot
  • 5 Cloves of garlic
  • 1 T Oil
  • 1 Zucchini, color doesn’t matter. Green makes for more pop in the pasta, but it yellow is on sale, get yellow
  • 1 C Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 T Butter
  • 15 – 18 Shrimp, I used 26/30 count from whole foods, but you can use more or less, bigger or smaller*
  • 1 Box spaghetti
  • ¼ C pasta water
  • 1 t red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ¼ C chopped parsley (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  • Boil water and cook spaghetti according to package directions.
  • While your pasta water is coming to a boil, dice the shallot and mince the garlic. Cube zucchini and halve the cherry tomatoes
  • In a pan, heat oil on medium high heat
  • Once the pan is hot – add the shallot. Let the shallot soften, and then add garlic.
  • Saute until fragrant, then add zucchini and 1 tablespoon of butter.
  • When the zucchini begins to soften, add the halved cherry tomatoes.
  • Add in shrimp, lemon juice and lemon zest. Shrimp should not take  
  • When your pasta is done, add it to your pan with your shrimp and veg…. don’t be afraid of the pasta water!! I use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer my pasta from its cooking water directly into my pan with the veg, none of the draining into the sink and rinsing nonsense I grew up with (sorry, Mom).
  • With ¼ C of the pasta water, toss your spaghetti, shrimp and vegetables all together, season to taste with salt and pepper, and add parsley/red pepper as you wish.

*What the heck does that mean, 26/30 shrimp? It’s a reference to the number of shrimp per pound. The lower the number (ie 16/20) the bigger the shrimp! Check out this handy article from The Spruce Eats on shrimp sizes and serving size!

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