Quick and Easy Shrimp Scampi with Linguine is a pasta recipe that is ready in less than 20 minutes! The sauce cooks up while you make the pasta. With shrimp, olive oil, bright lemon flavors, garlic, and a touch of white wine, it is so flavorful!
Since it is made without butter, this is a totally dairy-free pasta recipe. Hard to believe it is so luxurious since there is no butter. Read more about butter substitutes here.
All you need is a really good quality extra-virgin olive oil as the base of this decadent sauce that comes together in just minutes!
When I was growing up, shrimp scampi was made on the regular by both of my parents. Shrimp scampi is a classic Italian-American recipe. I didn’t actually know that it wasn’t a traditional Italian recipe when I was little. Since my Italian family was making it, I figured it was something they learned in Italy.
Oh, and by the way, this is mom’s recipe (aka, nonna!). So you know this is good!
And with Christmas Eve around the corner, if you grew up in an Italian-American home, shrimp scampi could be something your nonna whipped up as one of the star dishes of the Feast of the Seven Fishes.
This delicious pasta recipe comes together in less than 20 minutes. So you really could consider adding it to your Feast of the Seven Fishes menu. Nonna is always right!
Trust me when I tell you, this will definitely impress your friends and family! It is a dish not only to make during the holiday season. Once you learn how easy it is to make, you’ll make it all year round.
The funny thing about the name is that scampi in Italian means langoustines (or large prawns), so they are basically, shrimp. So the Italian-American name of “Shrimp Scampi” is actually “Shrimp Shrimp”.
I know, it’s getting silly here. But, that just gives you a little background on the origins of the name of this super tasty shrimp pasta recipe.
Why is it called shrimp scampi?
As I was mentioning in the intro, shrimp scampi is actually an American version of an Italian recipe. In Italy, they make langoustines, or scampi, in a similar way.
In the States, shrimp were substituted for the langoustines, and there were different variations to the recipe. All sorts of variations were created. There are some recipe variations where tomatoes are used. Also, you’ll even find some breaded shrimp versions.
What ingredients are in shrimp scampi?
- Shrimp – I used large uncooked frozen shrimp, or 31/40 size shrimp/pound. You could use smaller, or larger. Keep in mind, if you use smaller, they’ll cook up faster.
- Extra-virgin olive oil – the base of the velvety sauce. The better the quality oil, the better the flavor of your dish!
- Garlic – Fresh garlic is essential to this recipe. I wouldn’t substitute it with garlic powder.
- White wine – I recommend always using a wine you would actually drink. Cooking wine will not have the same flavor. A nice Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, or Sauvignon Blanc.
- Lemon juice – One large lemon is all you need. Use the rind and the juice. Freshly squeezed surpasses the store-bought bottled lemon juice.
- Parsley – Chopped fresh Italian parsley is essential to this recipe. I do not recommend dried parsley.
- Red pepper flakes – Totally optional, but even a pinch will add a layer of subtle warmth this this pasta recipe. You could totally omit if you do not like any spice at all. You could use freshly ground pepper, if you prefer.
- Pasta-Linguine is so nice for this recipe. Spaghetti also would work.
How to make an easy shrimp scampi?
This is a quick review, and you can find full instructions on printable recipe below.
1.First step is to gather all your ingredients. This step is super important, since it’s such a quick recipe. If you have frozen shrimp, defrost them in a bowl of water. They defrost pretty quickly.
2.Bring a large pot of water to boil. While you do that, heat a large skillet and add in some olive oil (extra-virgin olive oil is always best). When it is heated up, add in the shrimp.
3.As soon as the pot of water boils, add in the pasta.
4.Cook until they’re just turning pink on both sides (you don’t want to overcook them and will be combining them with the cooked pasta, so they’ll cook some more).
5.Remove the shrimp from the pan and set them aside in a bowl while you make the quick sauce.
6.Add the garlic to the olive oil. Cook until fragrant (take care not to burn them).
7.In the pan with the garlic, add the lemon juice, lemon slices, lemon rind, white wine, and parsley. Make sure the heat is on medium-high and this is at a strong simmer. Toss in some hot pepper flakes, if you like it spicy.
8.Drain the pasta just before it’s al dente, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water. Immediately add the past to the pan with the sauce. Add in the shrimp. Add in a bit of the pasta water. Sprinkle on some sea salt and you could even add in some freshly ground pepper (in place of the hot pepper, if you like).
9.Serve immediately with some more chopped Italian parsley, grated lemon rind, and hot pepper flakes (if you like it hot!).
Look at how decadent this pasta dish is! And see how easy it is to make?
Substitutions and variations for the best shrimp scampi
- A splash of white wine is optional. You could use broth (seafood, chicken, or even vegetable broth), some bottled clam juice would work, as well.
- Red pepper flakes are for those that like a touch of spice. Leave them out if you prefer you pasta mild.
- Fresh Italian parsley is what we prefer. If you have curly parsley, use that instead. I do not recommend dried parsley, as I prefer the flavor of fresh parsley.
Is this shrimp scampi recipe dairy-free?
Yes, this recipe is totally dairy-free. I know, it’s hard to believe you can make a decadent sauce without butter. But, believe me! This sauce is absolutely delicious and rich because we used a very nice quality extra-virgin olive oil. The better the brand, the better the flavor of your sauce.
What is shrimp scampi sauce made of?
The traditional recipe is made with butter, garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a splash of a nice white wine. To keep it lighter and dairy-free, we substituted the butter. We used extra-virgin olive oil in place of butter.
Can I make shrimp scampi with butter?
If you prefer to use butter, go ahead and use butter! I would use 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
What is the serving size of large shrimp per person?
You’ll get 31-40 shrimp per pound. That makes 8-9 shrimp per serving. Each shrimp weighs about about 0.33 oz.
How to thaw frozen shrimp quickly in water?
Take the frozen shrimp out of their bag and submerge them in a bowl of cold water (do not use hot water!).
Leave the shrimp in the water for 10-15 minutes. Stir them around every 5 minute, breaking up any ice pieces.
As soon as they’re totally thawed out, place them on a paper-towel lined dish to absorb the water.
What kind of pasta should I use for shrimp scampi?
We used linguine for our shrimp scampi recipe, but you could use angel hair pasta, spaghetti, or any other long pasta you have on hand.
What is a good substitute for wine in shrimp scampi?
You could use low sodium fish broth, a bottle of clam juice, or low sodium chicken broth instead of white wine.
Could this recipe be made with gluten-free pasta?
Yes, it could! Use your favorite gluten-free pasta brand.
Best tips to make shrimp scampi
- If you buy extra-large shrimp, and they’re not deveined, you’ll definitely have to devein them. Make a small cut on the back of the shrimp with a tip of the knife to remove the thin vein. I always buy deveined shrimp to make it easier.
- You could keep the shrimp tails on. It’s easy to pull them off when you’re eating. Or you could remove them right before cooking. It’s optional to keep the tails on. They’re easier to grab with tails on if you’re going to be serving these as an appetizer. You can remove the tails, though.
- It doesn’t take but more than a couple minutes to overcook shrimp. As soon as they turn pink, they are ready. And the heat from combining it with the pasta will also cook the shrimp some more.
- I do not suggest using cooked shrimp for this recipe. Unless you like a chewy shrimp, because that is what you’ll end up with.
- The shrimp tails could stay on or off. It’s so easy to remove while you’re eating. I prefer to keep the tails on while cooking. It’s totally up to your preference.
What to serve with shrimp scampi
- Serve it with pasta like we do. I used linguine, but angel hair pasta is also typical with this recipe. Spaghetti would also work fine!
- Craving more carbs? Make our easy Ligurian focaccia bread with rosemary or these rosemary grissini.
- If you’re cutting back on carbs for low-carb or following paleo, or are gluten-free, some ideas are to serve with zucchini noodles, polenta, or a nice big salad.
How long does leftover shrimp scampi last in the refrigerator ?
As soon as the pasta has cooled down, store it in an airtight container. According to the USDA, cooked seafood will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. I never eat any cooked seafood after 2 days.
Can you freeze shrimp scampi?
I never freeze cooked shrimp. I find it to be too chewy when you reheat it after cooked and frozen.
Some other pasta recipes to try:
- Sicilian Pasta with Ground Chicken
- Pasta with Zucchini and Potatoes
- Easy Lemon Ricotta Pasta
- Vegan Cherry Tomato Pasta
Quick and Easy Shrimp Scampi with Linguine
- 1 lb linguine or angel hair pasta, or spaghetti
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling on the pasta
- 1 lb peeled and deveined large shrimp raw; 20 to 25 per lb
- 4-6 large garlic cloves pressed or minced
- ½ teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes optional
- ½ cup dry white wine make sure it’s a wine you would drink
- Zest of 1 whole lemon
- Freshly Squeezed Juice of 1 whole lemon
- 1-2 teaspoons sea salt plus salt for the pasta water
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper optional
- ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Thaw frozen shrimp: Add the shrimp to a bowl of cold water. Remove and discard the shell, devein, and leave the tails on. Rinse and drain the shrimps and transfer to a paper towel lined plate to absorb the water.
- If you’re using fresh shrimp, remove shells, devein, and leave the tails on the shrimp. Set aside while you start the sauce.
- Boil pasta water: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once the water boils, salt it. Bring to another boil, and add in the pasta. Stir the pasta to separate (make sure none of it is sticking to bottom of the pot). Cook it to 1 minute less than al dente.
- Heat the oil: Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot, then add in the shrimp. Sauté shrimp, turning over once, until just cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. When it is just turning pink, use a slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp to a bowl.
- Add sauce ingredients to the oil: Add the garlic to the skillet and cook until fragrant (take care not to brown it) on medium heat. Turn up the heat to medium-high, add in the lemon juice, lemon rind, white wine and hot pepper flakes (if you’re using). The sauce should come to a strong simmer for a few minutes.
- Season sauce: Sprinkle on your salt and some freshly ground pepper.
- Drain and combine pasta to sauce: Drain the pasta in a colander just before it's al dente, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water. Raise the heat of the sauce a little. Immediately add the pasta to the pan with the sauce. Add in the shrimp and stir to combine.
- Add some reserved pasta water: Stir to combine and add a little bit of pasta water if the sauce is too thick.
- Check the seasoning: Test the pasta, and if needed, sprinkle on some sea salt, and you could even add in some freshly ground pepper (in place of the hot pepper, if you like).
- Plate up the pasta: Drizzle on the pasta a little extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle on some chopped Italian parsley, some more grated lemon rind and hot pepper flakes (both are optional). ENJOY!