Most people have had shrimp scampi at least once in their life. My take is a classic shrimp scampi recipe served over Israeli couscous. Shrimp and couscous tossed in a garlic, butter, and white wine-based sauce, this Italian-American dish is really citrusy, refreshing and tastes like summer.
How to Make Shrimp Scampi
Shrimp scampi in its original form is sautéed shrimp served in a simple white sauce made with butter, olive oil, garlic, lemon, and a dry white wine like pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc. Usually, it’s served on its own with crunchy bread or over some sort of pasta topped with fresh parsley.
For starters, I marinate my shrimp for about 30 minutes in garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice to really enhance the flavor. This is not mandatory, but an awesome tip I got from Bon Appétit. It makes a big difference in the final flavor.
The shrimp will cook very quickly in a pan. We’ll partially cook the shrimp in oil before removing from the pan and preparing the sauce in the same pan. From here we can return the shrimp to finish cooking and coat in the sauce along with the fully cooked couscous. It’s absolutely phenomenal.
Can I Make This With Precooked or Frozen Shrimp?
Yes, you can use shrimp in any form. Both Frozen raw or cooked. Just be sure to fully thaw any shrimp you use before cooking. You can do this in the refrigerator gradually or quickly by running frozen shrimp under cool water in a colander for about 10 minutes. Never use warm water to thaw raw shrimp.
If you’re using fully cooked shrimp, you really only need to heat the shrimp in the last few minutes of the recipe just before adding the couscous and tossing everything in the sauce.
Be sure to always get peeled and deveined shrimp. Regardless of fresh or frozen. This will save you a lot of unnecessary time and effort. You can remove the tail shell before cooking or cook/serve with the tails on. Tails look better for presentation but require removing before eating.
Isreali Couscous Verus Couscous
Couscous is essentially toasted pasta made with semolina flour. This recipe calls for Israeli couscous, which is larger and more pearl-like than regular couscous. Once cooked, Israeli couscous is roughly the size of peas. It’s important to get Israeli couscous as it has much more of a pasta taste and texture than the more gritty smaller couscous.
Can I Make With Any Pasta?
Yes, couscous is not required, you can serve with your favorite pasta (or none at all), although I think this recipe works best as is with Israeli couscous.
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Classic buttery, garlicky, and citrusy shrimp scampi served over Israeli couscous. Easy and ready in 15 minutes (plus optional marinating).
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined
- 2 cups (dry) Israeli couscous
- 4 garlic cloves, 2 grated, 2 thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 2 lemons (1 for lemon wedges for serving)
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Warm french bread (for serving)
- Season shrimp with salt and pepper to taste. Add to a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, juice from half a lemon, and minced garlic. Let marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour (this isn’t essential, however, it adds a lot of flavor to the shrimp and is highly recommended).
- Cook couscous per the instructions on the packaging. Set aside and keep warm covered.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat in a large pan. Add shrimp mixture (including lemon and oil from the bowl) and cook until shrimp are just pink but slightly undercooked, 1 minute per side. Transfer shrimp to a plate with tongs leaving all oil behind in the pan. Add sliced garlic and red pepper flakes, simmer for about 1 minute. Add wine and juice from the remaining half of lemon. Let cook until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Add butter and cook, twirling around the pan as it melts. Simmer until sauce slightly thickens, about 5 minutes.
- Add shrimp back into the pan and cook for another 2 minutes or until shrimp are fully cooked through. Stir in all couscous and toss with shrimp until fully coated in lemon butter sauce. Top with fresh parsley and serve immediately with lemon wedges and warm french bread.
Don’t overcook shrimp or they will dry out and get chewy. 3-4 minutes is all you need.
This recipe calls for Israeli couscous, which is larger and more pearl-like than regular couscous.
I marinate my shrimp for about 30 minutes in garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice to really enhance the flavor. This is not mandatory, but an awesome tip I got from Bon Appétit. It makes a big difference in the final flavor.
Keywords: shrimp scampi recipe