And Just Like That, It’s a Food Blog.

{Every week on my personal blog, I write a food post. I kind of thought that having a blog called Cucumbersome and not putting food posts on it was the most disgusting sort of waste, so I’m trying it on for size.}

Shrimp Scampi is just like every boyfriend I’ve ever had.

I’ve tried a lot of different ones, and not one was ever quite right, not a single one ever totally *did it* for me quite the way I’d hoped for, but I always feel like there’s some untapped potential going on under the surface so I keep coming back for more.

I am a glutton for greasy, tart, wine-soaked punishment.

But like they say…you want something done right, you really ought just do it yourself. To get it right, it turns out all I had to do was take matters into my own hands.Yes, we are still talking about pasta.

The thing with shrimp scampi (and my ex’s) is that if you overthink things, everything gets all complicated and weird and congealed. If you try to make it following some recipe someone else laid out for you, if you rely on measurements or spend too long on it, you ruin everything.

Scampi is the drunken quickie of dinners… a dash here,  a pinch there, a quick toss and a fast boil and it’s done. You know you like it.

I throw something close to two sticks of butter in a large skillet on medium, because really, you’re only going to live once, people. As soon as the heart attack has melted, I set it to low heat and add sixish cloves of garlic, chopped up. Now, here’s where the normal person would add white wine but I am of the opinion that white wine is like white men…the only decent ones are a little fruity and already taken.  Instead, I throw in a pinch of red pepper flakes and a dash of cajun seasoning.

Then I start adding lemon juice – I just use those bottles of lemon juice you pick up in the produce aisle (also known as seedless lemons) and I squirt about two seconds’ worth of juice into the pan.  If that tastes okay, I add about 1/2 cup of water and bring that up to medium heat. Once it’s good and heated, I add a pound of raw white shrimp (peeled completely) and toss them in the sauce for just a few minutes, until they’re all the way pinked up.

Once you get the shrimp exactly the way you like it, go ahead and add a little more lemon to it. You know you can’t leave a good thing alone. You can make it even better.

And with that, you’re set to pop.

I serve my scampi on angel hair pasta because that’s the closest to salvation I think I’m going to get in this lifetime. Also, because it’s a delicate sauce that requires a delicate pasta. Angel hair pasta takes like four minutes to boil on the worst of days, so do that last, and once it’s cooked make a little pasta mound in the middle of a plate, then spoon shrimp and sauce all around it. Top that with diced roma tomatoes and a tiny little bit of shredded Parmesan cheese and god, god, god yes.

Pairs well with Attachment Disorder.


Or, if you prefer it the boring way we *always* do it:

1 pound raw shrimp, shells and tails removed (frozen is a-okay)
2 sticks unsalted butter
6 cloves garlic, chopped
Red pepper flakes (1 tsp, or to taste)
Cajun seasoning (1/2 tsp, or to taste)
1/4 cup lemon juice (approximate)
1/2 cup water
Salt to taste
Diced roma tomatoes and shredded Parmesan for garish

Heat butter on medium until melted, add garlic to pan and saute for 1 minute. Reduce to low, add red pepper flakes, cajun seasoning and salt. Add lemon and water, and simmer on low.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, boil 1/2 pound angel hair pasta for 4-5 minutes, until tender. Drain, rinse, and serve with sauce.

Top with diced tomatoes and shredded Parmesan cheese.

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An Easy Shrimp Scampi Recipe

shrimp scampi, shrimp scampi recipeWhen you’re looking for something festive to serve that’s impressive, yet requires little time and effort – shrimp scampi is it. Quickly made with garlic, extra virgin olive oil and butter, it’s a great way to turn an inexpensive bag of frozen shrimp (I like starting with raw shrimp, deveined and shelled with the tail left on) into a light yet impressive meal or starter. If you like, ditch the pasta and serve the shrimp in the pan juices with crusty bread for mopping.

Garlicky Shrimp Scampi with Spaghetti 

1 lb. spaghetti or spaghettini
2-4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
2-4 Tbsp. butter
1 lb. raw, tail-on, peeled and deveined large shrimp
5-6 large garlic cloves, finely crushed or grated
1/2 cup dry white wine
pinch red chili flakes
small handful of flat-leaf parsley

Cook the pasta according to package directions. 

Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy skillet set over medium-high heat. 
Sauté the shrimp, turning over as needed, until just cooked through; transfer to a bowl. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for a minute, then add the wine and chili flakes.

Return the shrimp to the pan, heat through and toss with pasta and parsley. Serves 4.

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