I originally posted this recipe almost five years ago while Betsy and I were moving to Colorado. It’s still great if you need a quick single serving meal (or don’t have any dishes)!
I had an alternate name for this dish but it was way too long to actually publish: Shrimp Scampi For Bachelors Who Want To Stay Bachelors or For Bachelors Who Want To Find Everlasting Love.
See? Too long.
Shrimp scampi is freakin’ delicious and I can pretty much guarantee that if you made this for a special person, they would love you (unless they don’t like shrimp… or butter). I can also guarantee that due to the high levels of shallots and garlic in this dish, if you wanted to stay single forever, you could just eat this dish alone every night before you went out. If you eat it together with someone though… no harm done!
1) Cook pasta according to package. Reserve some of the cooking water for the sauce later. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
2) Mince garlic and shallots and clean the shrimp if they aren't already cleaned.
3) Add butter to pot over medium heat. Once hot and melted, add the cleaned shrimp and cook for 90 seconds per side. Then add shallots and garlic and cook for another 30 seconds until soft.
4) Add a splash of white wine, and the crushed red pepper. Try not to overcook them.
5) Add cream to the shrimp and stir. The sauce should reduce nicely.
6) Add pasta back into the pot and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. If sauce is too thick, add a bit of reserved pasta water to thin it out. Don't make it too thin though!
Shrimp Scampi for One: Prep
These days you can buy shrimp in various states of readiness. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the already prepped frozen kind. I think that buying shrimp that are still in their shell and cleaning them yourself results in the best tasting shrimp although it’s a bit more work. It also happens to be cheaper.
In general, for recipes like this I like the larger shrimp (although not the largest shrimp). Something in the 21-26 count category usually will work nicely.
If you’ve never cleaned shrimp before, it’s not necessarily hard, but it is a bit messy and some people don’t like doing it. If your shrimp aren’t already cleaned for you though, it’s a pretty essential step unless you like your shrimp gritty and sandy.
To clean them, basically just peel off the shell using your fingers, but leave the tail part on. Then take a small paring knife and carefully slice right down the back of the shrimp. You should see a small vein of black stuff.
Run the shrimp under water to get that out of the shrimp. Technically, it’s shrimp poop, but it’s mainly just sand and grit. You could definitely eat it (I have) without any ill effects, but it’s a much better dining experience if you clean it! You’ll get good at it really fast.
I used a spaghetti for this dish which is kind of my default pasta. I actually think spaghetti is the perfect pasta for shrimp scampi so just use that.
If you’re curious how much pasta I usually make for a large bachelor-sized portion, it’s a bit larger than the size of a quarter if you hold together the pasta in a tight bunch.
I cooked this entire dish in one pot so my first thing to do was to make the pasta. I just made it according to instructions. I didn’t have a colander though so my draining didn’t go great. I just used the lid.
Ideally, you would drain the pasta and reserve about 1/2 Cup of pasta water for the sauce just in case it gets too thick later.
Shrimp scampi for One: Starting the Shrimp
While the pasta cooks, mince up a shallot and some garlic. I used three cloves of garlic because it’s almost Halloween and vampires scare me.
You could use less though if you’re afraid people won’t want to speak to you all night long (valid fear).
When you’re pasta is done, add the butter to the same pot. Just make sure it’s mostly dry. Put it over medium heat and when the butter is melted and hot, add the shrimp. Let the shrimp cook for about minutes per side. You’ll know they are getting close when they firm up and turn pinkish.
Then toss in the garlic and shallot along with the red pepper flakes and a dash of white wine if you’re using it. Everything cooks really fast at this point. Just another 30 seconds or so to soften the veggies.
Try not to overcook them or else they will become rubbery. Rubbery shrimp are the worst!
These are almost done.
When the shrimp are almost done, add some cream to the dish. I said a few tablespoons in the recipe but you could add as much as you’re comfortable with. I guess technically it’s optional, but it really makes the dish in my opinion. When you add it to the pot the sauce just comes together in this fantastic way.
It’s so delicious.
Season this with a pinch of salt and pepper and then add in all your cooked pasta back into the pot! Stir this all together and if the sauce is a bit too thick, add some of your reserved pasta water. The sauce should coat the pasta but not be clumpy at all. Stir everything together and you’re ready to eat!
It might not look like there’s a lot of sauce, but there’s just enough. And even though there are just a few shrimp, the sauce has this really deep seafood flavor. You could grate some Parmesan cheese on top if you wanted, but I thought it was rich enough as is.
I ate mine on a paper plate of course with a plastic cup of wine.
This is my kind of one pot meal. Honestly, if I made it again, I’d probably just eat it out of the pot that I cooked it in!