For an impressive but effortless dinner that's flavor-filled and feels extremely fancy, Shrimp Scampi is a must-have recipe, Especially if it tastes just like (or better) than Red Lobster, the classic seafood chain. This delicious copycat Red Lobster Shrimp Scampi features tender, juicy shrimp that are sauteed in a rich, garlicky, lemony, white wine butter sauce and poured over a bed of perfectly cooked pasta. With just a handful of simple ingredients, this classic Italian recipe comes together in under 30 minutes to make a quick and easy meal that has five-star restaurant quality.
While the typical shrimp scampi uses quite a large amount of butter, this recipe cuts back on that by using olive oil to give it a lighter nutrient profile while maintaining the same decadent taste.
Why Is It Called Shrimp Scampi?
The dish gets its name from the traditional Italian recipe which uses small, lobster-like crustaceans called scampi prepared in a simple sauce of garlic, butter, and white wine and often served over pasta. Today, this dish is generally made the same way but using American shrimp, hence the name "shrimp scampi".
Choosing Shrimp For Scampi
When it comes to choosing shrimp for your scampi, either frozen or fresh shrimp will work just fine.
For the best flavor, look for shrimp that are larger in size like extra-large, jumbo, or colossal since they tend to be more meaty and juicy. Smaller shrimp can be easy to overcook, resulting in a texture that's dry or rubbery.
If buying fresh shrimp, they should have a light, ocean smell that isn't overly fishy. Be sure your shrimp is peeled and deveined before you begin cooking.
If you are using frozen raw shrimp, look for ones that are frozen individually and defrost them quickly and safely by putting the shrimp in a large bowl of lightly salted ice water.
Although shrimp cooked with the shell-on can be more flavorful, peeled shrimp are easier to eat.
Types of Pasta For Shrimp Scampi
Shrimp Scampi is typically served with a thin, long pasta like spaghetti, angel hair, or linguine.
It's important to not rinse your pasta after cooking, this will ensure that the noodles absorb the garlic butter sauce evenly.
For a low-carb option, you can serve shrimp scampi with zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice, fresh steamed vegetables. The shrimp and butter sauce can be also be served with crusty fresh bread for dipping in instead.
Cooking Tips For Red Lobster Copycat Shrimp Scampi
A dry white wine like chardonnay or pinot grigio is best for shrimp scampi. Avoid using a sweet wine as this will change the flavor profile of the dish. If you prefer to not use wine in your cooking, a chicken broth can be used in place of the white wine. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp. They should cook long enough to turn pink but not too long that they shrink and become rubbery.
How To Store Leftovers
It's best to serve shrimp scampi fresh but if you have leftovers they can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days. To reheat, quickly warm the scampi with a little chicken broth on the stovetop for 3-5 minutes being careful not to overcook the shrimp.
Copycat Red Lobster Shrimp Scampi
- 12 oz. thin pasta noodles angel hair, linguine, spaghetti)
- 3 tbsp salted butter
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 1 lb extra large shrimp peeled and deviened
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Cook linguine according to package instructions. Do not rinse cooked pasta with water. Set aside.
- Heat a sauté pan on high heat then reduce to medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil to the pan. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes until it begins to brown lightly.
- Place the shrimp in the pan in an even layer then season well with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
- Pour in the wine and stir to coat the shrimp. Simmer until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
- Turn the shrimp over to cook the other side and continue to cook on low heat for another minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Sprinkle the shrimp with parsley, lemon juice, and black pepper, and toss with pasta to combine. Serve immediately.