Perfect Shrimp Scampi Sauce

Shrimp, butter, garlic, wine … need I say more? By now, surely you are dreaming of the perfect shrimp scampi sauce, one of the most delicious and special culinary delights of any cuisine. This much-loved dish can be served as a first course or as a main dish or even as an appetizer, so it’s perfect for everything from a Valentine’s dinner to an outdoor summer party.

Understanding which ingredients to choose, as well as how to prepare them, will have you creating the perfect shrimp scampi sauce that will impress even the pickiest dinner partner. Many people consider shrimp scampi a romantic dish. Wouldn't it be nice to surprise your partner by preparing shrimp scampi at home? Not only will your partner be impressed, but the fact that you spent the time to make something special will drive him or her wild. Of course, you need to learn how to prepare shrimp scampi. The following simple instructions will guide you step-by-step through the path to creating the perfect shrimp scampi sauce.

First: Ingredients Needed to Make Shrimp Scampi
Shrimp scampi can be either a sinful, creamy dish or a low-fat delight. It all depends on which ingredients you choose. For classic shrimp scampi, you will need butter, garlic, white wine, kosher salt, lemon juice, parsley and shrimp. Choose large, raw shrimp that have been shelled and deveined; fresh shrimp are best, but thawed, frozen shrimp can be used as well. Sometimes shrimp scampi is adjusted and light cream and oil are used in place of the white wine and butter. If you choose to make a traditional shrimp scampi, remember to use a white wine that you would actually drink. Avoid cooking wines at all costs. Their taste will overwhelm the shrimp scampi due to their low quality, added salt and preservatives.

Second: How to Prepare Shrimp Scampi Sauce
While shrimp scampi may sound extremely elegant, it's actually quite easy to prepare. The cooking begins by sautéing the garlic in butter. Be sure to mince the garlic, that is, cut it into very small pieces. Mincing can be done with a knife or in a food processor. You will need to sauté the garlic for about a minute, or until the smell fills the room. Be careful not to let the garlic brown, or you will have to start over. Add the wine and salt. Allow the mixture to reduce for two minutes. Add the shrimp and allow it to cook until the shrimp is pink on both sides. Add lemon juice and parsley before serving.

Third: Serving Shrimp Scampi
Shrimp scampi can be served with pasta or rice. Thin noodles work best for shrimp scampi, so popular pasta choices for this dish include linguine, angel hair pasta (Capelli d'angelo) and vermicelli. Occasionally, people use a tubular type of pasta, such as penne, ditalini, or rigatoni, especially if they have prepared a thicker scampi sauce. Other pasta choices include whole-wheat pasta in various shapes. These days, as more and more people become aware of being gluten-sensitive or gluten-intolerant, special gluten-free pastas are found in health food stores or even in supermarkets.

You may even see the dish served alone. If this is the way you choose to serve your shrimp scampi, make sure to serve it with crusty bread so that the sauce doesn't go to waste. Italian or French bread are the most common choices and they will work well for your meal. Other possibilities include sourdough bread, Cuban bread or even breadsticks.

For additional flavor, serve with parmesan cheese and lemon wedges. To make the presentation even more beautiful, arrange the lemon wedges in a decorative pattern. For additional color, sprinkle fresh parsley on top of the dish immediately before serving.

Additional Tips for Cooking and Serving Shrimp Scampi Sauce

  • If you don't like to cook with white wine, you can use broth in your shrimp scampi instead. While chicken broth is easily available and a tasty substitution, a broth prepared from the shrimp shells would be perfect for shrimp scampi.
  • If you're having a hard time deciding on whether to use butter or oil, you can use a combination of the two.
  • For additional flavor, add freshly ground black pepper or crushed red pepper flakes (or both!) at the same time you add the white wine and salt.
  • Do not overcook the shrimp. When preparing shrimp scampi, it will take only two to four minutes for the shrimp to cook. You'll know it's ready when it begins to turn pink. If you allow it to overcook, the shrimp will be tough.
  • To keep shrimp scampi warm throughout the entire meal, do what the restaurants do. Right before serving, heat oven-proof dishes in the oven. The dishes will keep your shrimp scampi steaming and hot.
  • If you want to prepare something truly special, make seafood scampi. Seafood scampi is prepared in the same way, but may have clam juice added for additional flavor. Besides shrimp, seafood scampi may include scallops and/or lobster.

Shrimp scampi is easy to make and can easily be altered to suit your taste buds or diet. Regardless of how you prepare shrimp scampi, you're bound to impress your partner. And remember, in the rare case that you have leftover scampi, it is just as delicious when reheated.

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