Don’t be like me, kids. Look before you leap. Think about the cooking process start to finish, and take appropriate steps to ensure that everything comes together at the right times.
Do not, for example, allow the butter to get too brown before you add the onions and garlic. It would also be advisable to start a pot of water boiling before you heat the oil at all; while you wait for the water to boil so you can prepare pasta, your onions and garlic will become darker in color than you would prefer. It is also advisable not to add the shrimp to the hot pan until the pasta is close to done. If you are like me, and you don’t even start a pot of water before your shrimp are perfectly opaque, then you will become paranoid about the shrimp overcooking and becoming rubbery.
Even if you do all of these things, however (brown the butter, burn the garlic, overcook the shrimp, forget to season until the last moment, and undercook ever-so-slightly the pasta), this dish will still be edible. The shrimp were much more forgiving than I expected them to be (taking them off the heat as soon as I realized my timing errors ensured that they didn’t continue cooking for too long), and the brightness of fresh parsley surprisingly covers a multitude of sins. Despite the near-horrific experience I had with this dish, I still can’t wait to make it again. With the slightest amount of forethought, this dish is miraculously simple enough for a weeknight meal, while still fancy enough for date night.
Shrimp Scampi Pasta
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Note: The Pioneer Woman uses a dash or two of Tobasco sauce to flavor this dish. I went a little too light on the sauce and didn’t get as much spice as I wanted, so I would go heavier next time. Switching to red chili flakes would also spice things up.
If using frozen shrimp, use raw shrimp. Do not buy cooked frozen shrimp. Ever. Trust me. If using raw shrimp or frozen shrimp in their shells, make sure they are shelled, cleaned, and deveined before cooking.
You will need:
1/2 lb. thin pasta, such as angel hair
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
~16 medium-sized shrimp (see note)
Dash Tobasco sauce (see note)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
Shredded parmesan cheese, to taste
Start a pot of water boiling. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.
Meanwhile, melt oil and butter together in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook until fragrant and onions are tender. Add shrimp, Tobasco sauce, salt and pepper, and lemon juice. Cook about 1 minute on one side, then turn shrimp and cook until they look like tiny C’s. (If they turn to O’s, you have overcooked them, but do not despair. They are probably fine, and you’ll do better next time.)
Add cooked pasta to skillet. Toss, coating pasta with the delicious butter sauce. Add parsley and toss. Serve immediately with parmesan cheese, and garnish with an extra lemon wedge if desired.