Shrimp scampi is a popular dish that combines succulent shrimp with a rich, flavorful sauce, typically served over pasta. The dish is characterized by its use of garlic, butter, and white wine to create a savory sauce that complements the tender shrimp perfectly. Here’s a closer look at its components and preparation:


  • Shrimp: Large, peeled, and deveined shrimp are the star of the dish. They are sautéed until pink and just cooked through.
  • Garlic: Minced or sliced garlic adds a punchy, aromatic flavor that is essential to the dish.
  • Butter: Used for sautéing the shrimp and garlic, butter adds richness and depth to the sauce.
  • White Wine: A splash of white wine brings acidity and brightness to the dish, deglazing the pan and melding the flavors together. Some recipes may substitute chicken or vegetable broth.
  • Lemon Juice: Adds a touch of freshness and zing, balancing the richness of the butter.
  • Parsley: Freshly chopped parsley is often used as a garnish, adding color and a mild, herby flavor.
  • Pasta: While not a part of the shrimp scampi itself, the dish is traditionally served over a bed of linguine, spaghetti, or angel hair pasta, which absorbs the delicious sauce.


The preparation of shrimp scampi is relatively straightforward and quick, making it a popular choice for an elegant yet easy meal. The general steps are as follows:

  1. Sauté Garlic and Shrimp: Garlic is sautéed in melted butter until fragrant. The shrimp are then added and cooked until they turn pink.
  2. Deglaze with Wine: White wine is added to the pan to deglaze it, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. This step is crucial for building the sauce’s flavor.
  3. Simmer the Sauce: The sauce is simmered to allow it to reduce slightly and concentrate in flavor. Lemon juice is often added at this stage.
  4. Serve Over Pasta: The cooked shrimp and sauce are typically served over a bed of pasta, with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and sometimes a squeeze of lemon juice for extra zest.

Shrimp scampi is beloved for its delightful blend of flavors—garlicky, buttery, and slightly acidic from the wine and lemon. It’s a versatile dish that can be adapted to suit personal tastes, with some variations incorporating ingredients like red pepper flakes for heat or grated Parmesan for extra cheesiness.

Image from NY Times