Shrimp Scampi

Chris Kimball has a basic recipe for Shrimp Scampi. The result is perfectly cooked and flavored shrimp. However his recipe has one problem huge problem; it yields barely enough sauce to flavor the shrimp with nothing left over for the accompanying pasta (or potatoes as I served it today).  While his original recipe calls for 2 pounds of shrimp, I’ve adjusted the recipe down to use just over 1 pound of shrimp, which is ideal for 3 people when serving with over a bed of pasta or potatoes. Also, instead of using 1 tablespoons of vermouth, I reduce 1 cup of white wine down to 1/4 cup. Even though this recipe yields more than twice sauce as Chris Kimball’s original recipe; I still find that there is never enough sauce.

Just enough sauce to complement the bed of garlic, cheese mashed potatoes.

Just enough sauce to complement the bed of mashed potatoes.

I posted Chris Kimball’s version of Shrimp Scampi over 5 years ago, but it bears very little resemblance to the Shrimp Scampi I’ve been making over the subsequent years.


  1. Chris Kimball says to cook the shrimp for just 1 minute; stirring occasionally. However, I find that my shrimp always needs more cooking time. So in general, I’ve switched to using his technique to for cooking longer on one side of the shrimp to promote a little caramelization. The residual heat of the shrimp will finish cooking the second side after being removed from the skillet.
  2. I prefer to use cilantro instead of parsley, which I think is too muted. However, I use whichever I already have in my kitchen.
  3. Instead of 1 tablespoon of Vermouth, I reduce 1 cup of dry white wine down to 1/4 cup. It concentrates the flavor of the wine, and by using cilantro (instead of parsley) I do not miss the subtle herb flavoring of the vermouth.
  4. I increased to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, which I think makes the scampi brighter and more flavorful.
  5. I usually serve this over a bed of angel hair pasta, but today I served it over some extra creamy mashed potatoes.

Rating: 5-stars
Cost: $11.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium.
Started: 5:00 PM.  Ready:  6:15 PM

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here.  The descriptions of how I prepared it today are given below:

4 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 pounds large shrimp (21-to-25 per pound)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup dry white wine
2 Tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves (or parsley)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  1. Put shrimp in a large bowl filled with cold tap water. Allow to defrost for 1 hour. To speed defrosting you can replace the water a few times.
  2. Put a large pot of pasta cooking water on stove, season with salt, cover and bring up to a boil. When water has come up to a boil, plan and start your pasta based upon the cooking instructions on your pasta. I like to use fresh pasta with this recipe, which cooks in only a minute or two.
  3. After the shrimp has defrosted, drain shrimp in a colander. Peel and devein shrimp; leaving the tails on to protect the narrower tail. Pat shrimp dry and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon sugar.
  4. Add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil to 12″ skillet and swirl to coat the bottom of the skillet. Pre-heat over high burner for 3 minutes until very hot, and the oil begins to smoke.
  5. Cook your shrimp in two batches, adding half the shrimp in a single layer. Cook for 3-1/2 minutes without moving or flipping. Empty shrimp into a clean bowl. While the second side will not appear to be fully cooked, it will finish cooking with the residual heat of the shrimp in the bowl.
  6. Wipe out you skillet using paper towels; and repeat with another 2 teaspoons oil and the rest of the shrimp.
  7. Turn down the burner to medium-high, add 1 cup of white wine and reduce for 5 minutes until thick; and has reduce to about 1/4 cup. Melt 3 tablespoon butter, add minced garlic, and saute for 30 seconds.
  8. Remove skillet from burner. Stir in lemon juice, minced cilantro, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Return shrimp and accumulated juices to skillet. Toss to combine; serve immediately.

2 Responses to Shrimp Scampi

  1. Sonya says:

    Thank-you for all the great tips! I haven’t made the Shrimp Scampi yet from my America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, and will have to reference your post (or my memory of it) when I do!

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