Rich shrimp scampi pasta makes even a normal weeknight meal feel like a special occasion. Tender seafood is tossed in an aromatic, bright pan sauce of simmered butter, lemon juice, white wine, and fresh herbs and served over tender linguine. Not too heavy, but perfectly filling and flavorful!
Few dishes are as iconically Italian as shrimp scampi pasta. It’s been a favorite in the United States since the 1920s, served over either a steaming pile of pasta or with some crusty bread to soak up all of that delicious butter and lemon sauce! I alternate between this and my white pesto pasta when I want a rich, flavorful Italian dinner.
Shrimp scampi might have a fancy, sophisticated appearance and aroma, but it’s easy to make at home. All in all, it takes 20 minutes to prepare — quicker than most of your frozen meals! And this shrimp scampi recipe is very flexible and can be made with other proteins or pastas as you see fit. Watch the video below in the recipe card to see how I make this!
Table of Contents
- Linguine – I prefer preparing shrimp scampi pasta with a slightly thicker, flatter noodle that you can really coat with the sauce. But any long noodle, including fettuccine or spaghetti, is great!
- Large Shrimp – Frozen works just as well as fresh for my shrimp scampi recipe, but thaw overnight rather than flash-thawing to, again, prevent dry and tough shellfish. Whether you keep the tails on is up to you, but be sure to remove the rest of the shell!
- Garlic – Mince fresh garlic cloves, or use garlic paste, to infuse truly rich, garlicky flavor in the sauce. Don’t use powdered — it just won’t be the same!
- Butter – This shrimp scampi recipe uses just over a third of a stick, to build the buttery pan sauce.
- Dry White Wine – Non-alcoholic substitutes for white wine include chicken, mushroom, or vegetable broth. Add a bit of extra lemon juice or white vinegar to get a similarly acidic taste.
- Red Pepper Flakes – This shrimp scampi sauce isn’t at all hot, but this ingredient can be omitted if you have some sensitive palates at your dinner table.
- Lemon Juice – I’m not one to criticize the use of bottled lemon juice — it gets the job done, and you get more bang for your buck!
Shrimp or Scampi?
Scampi are tiny, lobster-like crustaceans with pale pink shells (also called langoustines). These crustaceans are MUCH bigger than the shrimp that we know. Italian cooks in the United States swapped shrimp for scampi, but kept both names. In this dish large shrimp are used – feel free to have tails on for picking up or discard the tails along with the shells when cleaning.
- Sauté Garlic. Heat olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter and then add the garlic, stirring for a minute until aromatic.
- Make & Reduce Sauce. Pour the wine into the skillet along with the salt and peppers. Bring it all to a boil, then reduce to medium heat. Simmer for several minutes until the liquid reduces by half.
- Cook Shrimp. Now add the shrimps to the skillet and stir for a few minutes until the shellfish are pink and no longer translucent. Add the lemon juice and parsley and stir to coat the shrimps and reduce the sauce just a bit more. Remove from the heat and set aside while preparing pasta.
- Boil Pasta. Boil a large pot of salted water. Add the oil and linguine. Cook for 7-10 minutes, or as instructed on the pasta’s package.
- Toss & Serve. Drain the pasta and then return it to the pot. Immediately add the shrimp scampi and sauce to the pot and toss to coat.
- Cast Iron Skillet or Dutch Oven – A skillet or Dutch Oven are my preferred tools for preparing proteins with a pan sauce because they cook evenly and are easy to clean.
Storing and Reheating
Refrigerate the pasta, shrimp, and sauce in one container for an even more flavorful meal the next day!
Enjoy your leftovers for up to 4 days. Any longer and you risk bacterial contamination — plus the shrimps are pretty mushy by then.
Reheat shrimp scampi pasta on the stovetop on a medium-low heat until warmed through.
Use a dry white wine with bright, crisp flavors and not too much sweetness. My first choice is always Pinot Grigio, as the lemony notes in the wine meld beautifully with the lemon juice in the sauce.
I’ve also used Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc with similarly delicious results.
Absolutely not! The lemon, white wine, and garlic sauce is delicious with more than just shrimp. Other seafood, such as prawns (larger shrimp), lobster or scallops, are more than welcome. But you’re not limited to what lives in the sea!
For example, it would taste great with chicken! I would prepare chicken breast, thighs, or cutlets as I do when I prepare Tuscan chicken (that is, preparing the chicken first and using the same skillet to prepare the sauce) to soak in the sauce and to also add a similar poultry flavor to the sauce.
Freeze the shrimp, not the pasta. And take care — shrimp are always hard to freeze, thaw, and repeat because it’s so easy for those little shellfish to become tough and dry.
Don’t freeze for any longer than 3 months (to prevent freezer burn) and thaw in the fridge before reheating.
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Shrimp Scampi Pasta
- In a large skillet over medium heat add the olive oil and melt the butter. Add the minced garlic and sauté for a minute.
- Add the dry white wine, salt and peppers. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Reduce liquid in half, several minutes.
- Add the shrimp to the skillet, sauté on medium for 2-4 minutes, turning until shrimp turn pink. Pour in the lemon juice and chopped parsley, tossing to coat and reduce slightly.
- Serve over pasta of choice, steamed rice, or mashed potatoes. Have some crusty French bread around too to dip into the lemony sauce.
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, add the oil and linguine. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.
- When pasta is done, drain and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, OR transfer to platter, make a well in center to top with cooked shrimp and serve (as pictured).
- You can use fresh or frozen shrimp. Feel free to keep the tails on or off, but remove the rest of the shell. This is much easier to accomplish with fresh shrimp.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.