One of my favorite preparations for pasta – and one of the easiest – is aio e oio (also called aglio e olio). It’s a classic Roman dish usually made with spaghetti, although you could use any type of pasta you’d like. Usually, aio and oio is made with nothing more than pasta, garlic, olive oil, dried chili peppers, and parsley. To see my recipe, click here. This is a tasty variation on traditional aio e oio that adds shrimp to the dish. It’s super simple!
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ lbs. shell-on shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut into 1-inch pieces (if using large shrimp), shells reserved
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 tsp. red chili pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, mince
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
- Heat oil in a heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add shrimp shells and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shells turn orange and oil is rust-colored and aromatic, 8 to 10 minutes. Strain the oil through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on the shrimp shells with rubber spatula to extract as much oil as possible; discard the shells. Wipe the pot clean with paper towels. Set aside 2 tablespoons infused oil and return remaining oil to the cooking pot.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions in boiling water until just al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.
- While the pasta is cooking, add garlic, pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon salt to the pot with the olive oil and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until oil begins to gently foam and garlic turns pale golden, about 5-6 minutes. DON”T BURN THE GARLIC!
- Add the shrimp and season lightly with salt. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until shrimp begin to turn pink and opaque, 3-4 minutes.
- Add the pasta and reserved cooking water and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently to evenly coat pasta. Off the heat, stir in parsley and lemon juice and season with additional salt to taste.
- Divide the pasta among bowls and drizzle with the reserved oil. Serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional).
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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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