We all know and love shrimp scampi in the context of a seafood restaurant, but what does scampi even mean? Well, it’s a bit silly, as it turns out, because according the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word scampi means "a usually large shrimp" or, referring the dish we know and love: "large shrimp prepared with a garlic-flavored sauce." So, in a way, the name of the dish "shrimp scampi" translates to…shrimp shrimp. But for a dish so delicious, we’ll forgive the redundancy and focus on the flavors instead. Recipe developer Michelle McGlinn has crafted a spin on the dish with her shrimp and scallop recipe, so you can make the decadent, garlicky, delicious meal right in your own home!
Not only will your guests revel in the flavor of this dish, but they’ll love that you serve it in a similar way to their favorite restaurant. "I served mine as a pasta, but you can actually enjoy the sauce with crusty bread, if you prefer," McGlinn says. "You also don’t have to use angel hair — you could swap in something fun like farfalle or fusilli too." Of course, if you serve it with pasta, you may want to break up all those carbs with some veg: "I’d likely serve this with a leafy green salad or roasted vegetables like broccolini and carrots," McGlinn adds. Sounds like a pretty balanced meal!
Gather your ingredients for shrimp and scallop scampi
To make the exact meal McGlinn shares here, you’ll need angel hair pasta, about 15 to 18 shrimp with tails and/or shells on, about 15 to 18 bay scallops, butter, olive oil, minced garlic cloves, dry white wine (such as sauvignon blanc), salt, red pepper flakes, chopped parsley, and the juice from one lemon.
Note, though, that there’s a lot of flexibility here. "You can swap in chicken or sausage very easily by cooking the meat before beginning the sauce," says McGlinn, adding that you could also add mushrooms or peas to the mix.
Cook the pasta and sear the scallops
Boil the pasta according to package directions, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water before draining the noodles. Then drain and reserve the pasta, tossing it with a bit of oil or butter. While the pasta is boiling, peel the shrimp and reserve the shell or tails, or both if you have them. (And de-vein the shrimp, if necessary.)
Next, heat a thin layer of oil in a deep skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat. Pat the scallops completely dry and, once the oil is hot, add dry scallops and sear them on each side until golden brown, which takes about one to two minutes per side. Then remove the scallops and set them aside.
"I think the scallops are the hardest part [of the recipe]," McGlinn says. "Especially with such small ones, it can be hard to get them seared without overcooking!" Luckily, she has some tips to get a perfect sear: "The sear is very quick — once the pan is hot the scallops should brown in about a minute. You want to make sure you pat them very dry first, so that they aren’t steaming over the heat, but rather searing. Once you have the scallops seared, the recipe goes quickly and smoothly."
Simmer and reduce the sauce
Turn the heat under the pan down to medium low and melt the butter, also adding the remaining olive oil. Then add the garlic and cook until it grows fragrant, or for about one minute.
Now add the white wine, pasta water, shrimp shells, salt, and red pepper flakes. Bring this mixture to a simmer and let it cook until the liquid has reduced by half. The shrimp shells will turn pink and, once the liquid has reduced, you should be left with about ¾ cup of flavorful sauce.
"A helpful hint is also to reserve a little more pasta water than you need," McGlinn explains. "This recipe uses quite a bit, so you shouldn’t need it, but it is handy if you over-reduce the wine or if the sauce isn’t sticking to the pasta."
Cook the shrimp, then combine all ingredients and serve
Remove the shrimp tails (and shells if you used them) from the pan and add the shrimp itself. Cook the shrimp until they are just barely pink, or for about one to two minutes per side. Then add the scallops back into the skillet and stir to combine them in.
Next, add the lemon juice and parsley and stir to combine those, then remove the pan from the heat. Now add the pasta into skillet and toss to combine with sauce. Then, if desired, serve the dish with extra chopped parsley. Enjoy this garlicky, savory, and delicious shrimp and scallop scampi!
- ½ pound angel hair pasta (reserve ½ cup pasta water)
- 15 to 18 (½ pound) shell-on shrimp
- 15 to 18 (½ pound) bay scallops
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- juice from 1 lemon
- Boil the pasta according to package directions, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water before draining. Drain and reserve pasta.
- Peel the shrimp and reserve shell or tails, and de-vein, if necessary.
- While the pasta is boiling, heat a thin layer of oil in a deep skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat. Pat the scallops completely dry.
- Once the oil is hot, add the dry scallops and sear them on each side until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes per side, then remove scallops and set aside.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low and melt the butter with the remaining olive oil, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add white wine, pasta water, shrimp shells, salt, and red pepper flakes, bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced by half. Shrimp shells will turn pink and wine will reduce, leaving about half of the liquid, or ¾ cup.
- Remove the shrimp tails and add the shrimp, and cook the shrimp until just barely pink, about 1 to 2 minutes per side.
- Add scallops back into the skillet and stir to combine.
- Add lemon juice and parsley and stir to combine, then remove from the heat.
- Add pasta into skillet and toss to combine with sauce.
- If desired, serve with extra chopped parsley.