Friday, November 30, 2012

Garlic & Lemon Shrimp Pasta with EVOO, Butter & White Wine Sauce

The Rising Spoon Blog: Garlic & Lemon Shrimp Pasta with an EVOO, Butter and White Wine Sauce

You're looking for more filling foods that will make your buttons pop open after Thanksgiving, right? This dish falls squarely into that category. If not, let me rationalize it for you. I'm good at that. It's a born talent within procrastinators. I'm not as bad as I was in high school and parts of college, but I fall back into those habits from time to time. 

Here's my defense: 

There is only about a month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, then another six days until the new year. That's not much time. Why gorge only on the holidays? It's likely you'll attend a few holiday get-togethers where you'll nosh and imbibe without restraint. 

In my point of few, you might as well go for broke. 

That's what new years resolutions are for, after all.
And if you feel a case of the guilties coming on, stop yourself and make mischief instead. Pull a prank, play in the leaves, start a snowball fight, make snow angels, sculpt a snowman, go caroling, or glitter someone (they always run away, so you'll have to chase them). The point is to have fun while burning calories. Problem solved. 

Then again, maybe you're like me and don't need any rationalizing. Sometimes you simply want comfort food. Especially in the wintertime. Still, this recipe is garlic and lemon heavy and (unfortunately) that's not for everyone.  

You'll love this recipe if:
  • you're a shrimp scampi fan
  • you're a garlic addict
  • you love buttery or oily sauces, lemon and shrimp
  • you want to cook a simple meal that tastes restaurant quality
  • you need a quick, filling weeknight meal
  • you want to impress a significant other and hide your lackluster cooking skills (this is not a self-referential statement -_-)
If none of these bullet points describe's probably time for you to take a John Locke-esque walkabout. Go rediscover yourself and while you're at it, fall in love with garlic. You can thank me later. 

Last but not least, when I fed this to my persnickety boyfriend he proclaimed that it was "baller status". Don't hold back the mocking laughter. I sure didn't. It's a ridiculous phrase but conveys the highest compliment. 

Garlic & Lemon Shrimp Pasta with EVOO, Butter & White Wine Sauce
An indulgent saucy pasta chock full of garlic, lemon, extra-virgin olive oil, butter and shrimp. A few glugs of wine, crushed red pepper and shredded Italian cheese top off the strong flavors. This works for a quick weeknight meal or a weekend celebration. Serve with crusty bread for dipping into the sauceit's the best part!
Adapted from's Lemony Garlic Shrimp with Pasta
Serves: 3

12 ounces of dry organic pasta noodles (I recommend spaghetti or capellini)
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil 
--I recommend this brand since it passed the EVOO Test--
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of organic, grass-fed butter
9 medium to large cloves of garlic, smashed, peeled & diced finely
1/4 cup of organic cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half (optional)
1/2 cup roasted pastured chicken meat, shredded (optional)
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
Crushed red pepper*, to taste
Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon of fine sea salt for shrimp + extra for the sauce, to taste
(I recommend Pink HimalayanCeltic or Utah sourced salt)
Fresh juice from 1 1/2-2 lemons
2 count pour of dry white wine (about 1/4 cup)
8-10 ounces of raw, wild-caught frozen shrimp, peeled & de-veined
1/2 cup of shredded parmesan, mozzarella or Italian cheese blend 

*{Edit: I've changed the crushed red pepper "to taste" because I had a reader complain that it was too spicy. I like spicy things, so I added 1 tablespoon and was fine. However, some people dislike spicy foods or have sensitivities. In that case, I would recommend leaving it out altogether or adding it a little bit at time.}

Recommended Equipment
stainless steel stock pot or enameled cast-iron dutch oven (I own the blue Marseille color)
colander (I like this collapsable one)
cast-iron skillet

Fill a large stove-top pot 3/4 full of water, add several pinches of salt and set the burner to medium-high. When the water has reached a rolling boil, add the dry pasta and cook according to the packaged directions. That's usually until the pasta is "al dente" and still has a bite to it, but I like my noodles softer. It's a personal preference. When they're cooked, pour into a strainer over the sink (don't rinse the noodles) and leave them there until the sauce is ready. 

While the water is heating up, place the shrimp into a colander inside the sink and let cold water run over them for five or more minutes until they're completely thawed. Double check that each shrimp has been properly deveined on the outside and, if desired (I do this every time), remove the other vein that runs along the inside of the shrimp. Kitchen shears or paring knives work fine here. Again, this is a personal preference. When finished, rinse the shrimp again, place on a plate and sprinkle with the sea salt. Stick the shrimp in the fridge to keep cool until you're ready to add them to the sauce. 

Heat a large skillet to medium (no higher or you'll burn the garlic) and add the olive oil. Let this warm up for a minute, then add the butter. While that's melting, peel and chop the garlic. A fine dice works well, but if you like even more garlic flavor, mince the pieces. If you have tomatoes and leftover roasted chicken on hand, they make great additions, but they're not necessary. If you do, slice the tomatoes in half and shred the chicken. Add the garlic, tomatoes, chicken, and spices, making sure to properly salt and pepper the sauce to taste. 

Roll the lemons out to redistribute the juices, then slice in half and squeeze the juice over the sauce. Pour about 1/4 cup, or a two-count of dry white wine (i.e. not Moscato or sweet Riesling) into the pan. Stir everything around and let it cook for 3-5 minutes. If the garlic looks like it's cooking too much (darkening), reduce the heat to medium-low. 

Pull the shrimp out of the fridge to add to the sauce. If desired, you can rinse off the salt before adding the shrimp. In that case, you may need to sprinkle a bit of salt into the sauce. Let them cook 2-3 minutes, then flip so both sides cook evenly. After 5-6 minutes if all the blue-ish/pink is gone and the shrimp is white, pull one out and taste it. It should not be too firm or rubbery. Be careful not to overcook them. Turn off the heat and pour in the pasta, stirring so the sauce evenly covers the noodles. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of shredded cheese onto the pasta and stir once more. Serve immediately! 

The Rising Spoon Blog: Garlic & Lemon Shrimp Pasta with an EVOO, Butter and White Wine Sauce

Notes & Tips

  • Only use raw shrimp, NOT the pre-cooked kind. They are always over-cooked and do not compliment this recipe. Trust me, I've tried multiple times. Stick to using the pre-cooked stuff for shrimp cocktail. 
  • I've made this without the tomatoes and chicken and it tastes equally as good. Feel free to add whatever vegetables or proteins you have on hand on any given day. But avoid tomato sauce, as that will completely alter this recipe. 
  • Serve with crusty bread or breadsticks to soak up the sauce. That's the best part and you don't want to waste it!

I'd like to hear from YOU!

What's your all-time favorite, unbutton-your-pants-good comfort food? 

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. However, I ONLY recommend helpful products that I myself would use. And I'm really picky about what I share with you guys. Because I myself am super choosy about what I buy and consume. Recommending products that I love or want to own helps me cover the costs of running this blog and keep providing you with free, helpful information. And it costs nothing extra for you. Thanks!  


  1. Hi Elaina, this sounds like an absolutely mind-blowing recipe. Also mindblowingly salty if you don't rinse the salt off the shrimp when you take the out of the fridge! Maybe a good idea to add that? because I know several people who would follow this recipe to the letter and thus not rinse off that salt you sprinkled so liberally... Otherwise absolutely great! I will make this for friends at the first opportunity!



    1. Hmm...good point. "Liberal" is definitely open to interpretation. I don't use that much salt when I do it, so I'll edit it to have a more exact amount. Thanks for the feedback!

    2. You're very welcome. Yes, that is much better. I'm cooking for friends the weekend after next - if I remember correctly - and I shall be making this one, it really sounds so lovely! Oh, and thanks for making that adaptation!



    3. Thanks for checking back! Do let me know how it goes if you end up making it. :) Oh, and if you leave a comment with your email or signed into a google account (like gmail) or a specific social network, then we can connect online!

  2. I didn't know it would be so spicy. ... Over half went to waste because we can't eat super spicy food. If it weren't for the spice we would have loved it. Maybe next time I will add less red pepper flakes

  3. I just made this and am eating it right now. It's absolutely delicious! I put some fresh uncooked tomatoes on top as well.


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