Shrimp Scampi with Pasta: A Classic Italian-American Dish

Shrimp Scampi with Pasta is a delicious and easy-to-make dish that is perfect for a weeknight dinner or a special occasion. This classic Italian-American dish consists of succulent shrimp that are cooked with garlic, butter, white wine, and lemon juice, and then served over a bed of pasta. The dish is simple to prepare, but it is packed with flavor, making it a favorite among seafood lovers.

To make Shrimp Scampi with Pasta, you will need just a few ingredients, including shrimp, pasta, garlic, butter, white wine, and lemon juice. The dish can be customized to suit your taste preferences, with variations that include the addition of red pepper flakes for a spicy kick, or the use of linguine or spaghetti instead of angel hair pasta. The dish is also versatile and can be served as a main course or as a side dish, making it a great addition to any meal.

Overall, Shrimp Scampi with Pasta is a classic Italian-American dish that is easy to make, delicious, and versatile. Whether you are looking for a quick and easy weeknight dinner or a special occasion meal, this dish is sure to please. So, why not try making Shrimp Scampi with Pasta tonight and enjoy the flavors of Italy in the comfort of your own home?

History of Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp scampi is a classic Italian-American dish that has been enjoyed for generations. The dish is believed to have originated in the early 20th century, when Italian immigrants in America began cooking with the abundant supply of shrimp found in the waters off the Atlantic coast.

The word “scampi” is actually the Italian word for a type of small lobster-like crustacean, but in America, the term has come to refer to a dish made with large shrimp cooked in a garlic and butter sauce. According to a New York Times article, the first recorded recipe for shrimp scampi appeared in a cookbook by James Beard in 1955. However, the dish had likely been a staple in Italian-American households for decades before that.

Over the years, the recipe for shrimp scampi has evolved, with chefs adding their own twists and variations. Some recipes call for white wine, lemon juice, or red pepper flakes, while others include ingredients like capers, tomatoes, or cream. However, the basic components of the dish – shrimp, garlic, butter, and pasta – remain the same.

Today, shrimp scampi is a beloved dish that can be found on the menu of many Italian restaurants across the country. Its popularity is a testament to the simple yet delicious flavors of the dish, and its enduring place in the canon of Italian-American cuisine.

Choosing the Right Ingredients

When it comes to making the perfect shrimp scampi with pasta, selecting the right ingredients is crucial. Here are a few things to consider:

Selecting Shrimp

Choosing the right shrimp is key to achieving a delicious shrimp scampi. We recommend using fresh or frozen shrimp that has been deveined and peeled. Look for shrimp that has a firm texture and a sweet, briny aroma. Avoid shrimp that has a slimy texture or a strong ammonia smell.

Pasta Varieties

The type of pasta you use can make a big difference in the overall taste and texture of your dish. We suggest using a long, thin pasta like linguine or spaghetti. These pasta varieties pair well with the light, buttery sauce of shrimp scampi. If you prefer a heartier pasta, you can also use fettuccine or penne.

Fresh vs. Dried Herbs

When it comes to adding herbs to your shrimp scampi, you can choose between fresh or dried. Fresh herbs like parsley, basil, and thyme add a bright, herbaceous flavor to the dish. Dried herbs like oregano, rosemary, and thyme are more concentrated in flavor and can be used sparingly.

Types of Garlic

Garlic is a key ingredient in shrimp scampi, and the type of garlic you use can affect the flavor of the dish. We recommend using fresh garlic cloves that have been minced or sliced. Avoid using pre-minced garlic as it can have a bitter taste. If you prefer a milder garlic flavor, you can also use roasted garlic.

Best Oils and Butter

To achieve the perfect balance of flavors in your shrimp scampi, it’s important to choose the right oils and butter. We suggest using a combination of olive oil and unsalted butter. The olive oil adds a fruity, slightly bitter flavor, while the butter adds richness and creaminess to the sauce. Avoid using margarine or vegetable oil as they can alter the taste of the dish.

Preparation Techniques

Cleaning and Deveining Shrimp

Cleaning and deveining shrimp is an essential step in preparing Shrimp Scampi with Pasta. To clean the shrimp, rinse them under cold water and remove the shells. Next, use a sharp knife to make a shallow cut down the back of each shrimp and remove the vein. This step is important because the vein can contain sand and grit, which can ruin the texture of the dish.

Cooking Pasta to Al Dente

Cooking the pasta to al dente is crucial to the success of Shrimp Scampi with Pasta. Al dente means that the pasta is cooked until it is tender but still slightly firm to the bite. To achieve this, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, but start checking for doneness a minute or two before the recommended cooking time. Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, drain it and reserve a cup of the pasta water.

Sautéing Garlic to Perfection

Sautéing garlic is a key step in making Shrimp Scampi with Pasta. The garlic should be cooked until it is fragrant and lightly golden, but not browned or burnt. To sauté garlic, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant. Be careful not to overcook the garlic, as it can become bitter if it burns.

By following these simple preparation techniques, we can ensure that our Shrimp Scampi with Pasta is a success. Remember to clean and devein the shrimp, cook the pasta to al dente, and sauté the garlic to perfection.

Cooking Shrimp Scampi

Combining Ingredients

To cook shrimp scampi with pasta, we need to combine a few key ingredients. First, we need to make sure that we have fresh shrimp. We recommend using large, peeled and deveined shrimp for the best results. We also need pasta, garlic, butter, olive oil, lemon juice, white wine, and red pepper flakes.

To start, we need to cook the pasta according to the package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, we can start preparing the shrimp scampi sauce.

Achieving the Perfect Sear

To achieve the perfect sear on the shrimp, we need to make sure that the pan is hot before adding the shrimp. We recommend using a large skillet or sauté pan to cook the shrimp. We also recommend using a combination of butter and olive oil to add flavor and prevent the shrimp from sticking to the pan.

Once the pan is hot, we can add the shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until they turn pink and are slightly firm to the touch. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp, as they can become tough and rubbery.

Sauce Consistency

To achieve the perfect sauce consistency, we need to make sure that we add enough liquid to the pan. We recommend using a combination of white wine and lemon juice to add flavor and acidity to the sauce. We also recommend using garlic and red pepper flakes to add depth and spice.

To thicken the sauce, we can add a tablespoon of butter and stir until it melts and combines with the other ingredients. If the sauce is too thin, we can add a tablespoon of flour or cornstarch to thicken it. Be sure to whisk the flour or cornstarch with a tablespoon of cold water before adding it to the sauce to prevent clumps.

By following these tips, we can achieve a delicious and flavorful shrimp scampi with pasta dish that is sure to impress.

Serving Suggestions

When it comes to serving shrimp scampi with pasta, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your dish is not only delicious but also visually appealing. In this section, we will cover some plating ideas, garnishes, and wine pairings to elevate your shrimp scampi with pasta.


The presentation of your dish can make a big difference in how it is perceived. To plate shrimp scampi with pasta, we recommend using a large, shallow bowl or plate. This will allow the pasta to spread out and the shrimp to be arranged on top. You can also use a pasta bowl with a rim to keep the pasta and sauce from spilling over.

To add some visual interest, you can place a few pieces of asparagus or cherry tomatoes around the edge of the plate. This will not only add color but also complement the flavors of the dish.


Garnishes can add an extra layer of flavor and texture to your shrimp scampi with pasta. Some classic garnishes include chopped parsley or basil, grated Parmesan cheese, or lemon wedges. You can sprinkle the herbs and cheese over the top of the dish or serve them on the side for guests to add as they please.

For a more unique garnish, try adding some toasted breadcrumbs or pine nuts. These will add a nice crunch to the dish and complement the richness of the shrimp and pasta.

Wine Pairings

Pairing wine with shrimp scampi can be tricky because of the bold flavors of the dish. However, there are a few options that work well. For white wine, we recommend a crisp, acidic Sauvignon Blanc or a buttery Chardonnay. These wines will complement the lemon and garlic flavors in the dish.

If you prefer red wine, a light-bodied Pinot Noir or a fruity Beaujolais will work well. These wines will not overpower the shrimp and pasta but will still provide a nice contrast to the flavors.

Overall, serving shrimp scampi with pasta is a delicious and satisfying meal that can be elevated with a few simple touches. By following these serving suggestions, you can create a dish that is not only delicious but also visually appealing and well-balanced.

Nutritional Information

We all love a delicious plate of shrimp scampi with pasta, but what about the nutritional value of this dish? Let’s take a closer look at the key nutritional information of shrimp scampi with pasta.


One serving of shrimp scampi with pasta typically contains around 400-600 calories, depending on the recipe and portion size. This makes it a relatively high-calorie dish, so it’s important to be mindful of your portion sizes if you’re watching your calorie intake.


Shrimp is a great source of protein, and one serving of shrimp scampi with pasta can provide around 20-25 grams of protein. Protein is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue, and it also helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied.


Shrimp scampi with pasta can be high in fat, especially if it’s made with a lot of butter or oil. However, shrimp itself is a low-fat food, so if you’re looking to reduce the fat content of this dish, you could try using less butter or oil in the recipe.


Pasta is a carbohydrate-rich food, and one serving of shrimp scampi with pasta can provide around 50-70 grams of carbohydrates. However, the type of pasta used can affect the nutritional value of this dish. Whole wheat pasta, for example, is a healthier option as it contains more fiber and nutrients than white pasta.

Vitamins and Minerals

Shrimp is a good source of several important vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, selenium, and zinc. These nutrients are essential for maintaining healthy immune function, supporting brain health, and promoting healthy skin and hair.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

When it comes to storing and reheating shrimp scampi with pasta, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that the dish retains its flavor and texture.


After preparing your shrimp scampi with pasta, promptly store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Be sure to store the pasta and shrimp separately to prevent the pasta from becoming mushy and the shrimp from becoming overcooked.


When reheating your shrimp scampi with pasta, there are a few different methods you can use depending on your preferences and the equipment you have available.


One method for reheating shrimp scampi with pasta is to use the stovetop. To do this, gather a saucepan or skillet with a lid, and grease it with olive oil or butter. Add a splash of water, broth, or white wine to help preserve moisture. Heat the pan over medium heat, and add the pasta and shrimp. Cover the pan with the lid, and cook until the dish is heated through, stirring occasionally.


Another option for reheating shrimp scampi with pasta is to use the microwave. To do this, transfer the pasta and shrimp to a microwave-safe dish, and cover it with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap. Microwave the dish on high for 1-2 minutes, or until the dish is heated through, stirring halfway through if necessary.


Finally, you can also reheat shrimp scampi with pasta in the oven. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C), and transfer the pasta and shrimp to an oven-safe dish. Cover the dish with foil, and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the dish is heated through.

Regardless of which method you choose, be sure to check the internal temperature of the dish before serving to ensure that it has reached a safe temperature of at least 165°F (74°C).

Frequently Asked Questions

What ingredients are needed for a classic shrimp scampi pasta dish?

To make a classic shrimp scampi pasta dish, you will need the following ingredients: pasta, shrimp, garlic, butter, white wine, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Some recipes may also call for red pepper flakes, parsley, or grated Parmesan cheese. It’s important to use fresh, high-quality ingredients for the best flavor.

How can you make shrimp scampi pasta without using wine?

If you prefer not to use wine in your shrimp scampi pasta, you can substitute chicken or vegetable broth. Simply replace the wine with an equal amount of broth in the recipe. You can also use lemon juice or vinegar to add acidity to the dish.

What is the recipe for a creamy shrimp scampi pasta?

To make a creamy shrimp scampi pasta, you will need the following ingredients: pasta, shrimp, garlic, butter, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Cook the pasta according to package instructions and set aside. In a separate pan, sauté the shrimp and garlic in butter until the shrimp are pink. Add heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and lemon juice to the pan and stir until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the pasta with the sauce and shrimp, and serve immediately.

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