When I lived in New York City, I would periodically visit Rao’s Italian-American restaurant in East Harlem. The eatery, which opened in 1896, is notoriously difficult to get a table at, but well worth the wait and effort. The signature dishes at Rao’s are lemon chicken and shrimp scampi. While I would never compare my shrimp scampi with the heavenly stuff at Rao’s, this is a pretty good version and one that is easy to prepare. Here is a simple shrimp scampi recipe:
- 1 lb. dried pasta such as linguine or spaghetti
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 shallots, peeled and finely diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 pound medium-to-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
1. Cook the pasta in boiling water, according to package directions, until just al dente. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
2. Melt 2 Tbsp of the butter and 2 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Toss in the garlic, shallots and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add the shrimp to the pan, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until just barely pink – 2 to 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.
4. Add the wine and lemon juice to the pan and bring to a low boil. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter and 2 Tbsp of olive oil to the pan.
5. Once the butter has melted, add the partially cooked shrimp back into the pan to finish cooking for another couple minutes.
6. Add the cooked pasta and minced parsley to the pan and toss well to thoroughly combine the sauce, shrimp and pasta. Drizzle a little more olive oil over the pasta and serve.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.
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