You won’t believe how fast & easy this seafood pasta comes together, and the garlicky, buttery sauce is so light and delicious! Say “Hello” to your new favorite weeknight meal!
I don’t know for certain if this is true, but I have a hunch that it is: these wild times of quarantine have led us to get pretty creative in the kitchen. Between the Hunger Games-esque atmosphere that grocery shopping has taken on and the feelings that have bubbled up inside of us upon experiencing actual scarcity of certain items, we’ve had to find ways to eat well with less or different types of food than we might be used to. Pantry and freezer shopping and cooking have become a norm for most of us, especially if the practice wasn’t one we had before the Great Covid Pandemic of 2020 (I just named it that, it’s not the actual, official name – I don’t think).
This recipe came about because I asked my husband what we should have for dinner based on the types of protein we had hiding in our freezer. He picked shrimp, and I made a face. But I’d be damned if I heard him say “THEN DON’T ASK ME!” one more time, so I just made my face silently and cursed him for picking something I didn’t want. To be honest, the first thing that comes to mind these days when I think of making shrimp is a family favorite – Honey Garlic Shrimp. But that day, I just wasn’t feeling it. And I wasn’t really into anything “Asian” themed, so I was in a bit of a pickle. What did I have on-hand that I could do with shrimp to make it something I’d want to eat?
Pasta? Check. Lemon Juice? Check. Garlic? Check.
Shrimp Scampi it is! Let’s do this!
So, just to keep it real with you – I promise I did not buy any of these ingredients specifically for this meal. On my honor, I swear that I always have these ingredients either in my pantry, hanging out in my fridge, or stocked away in my freezer at all times. This was not quarantine-stocking-up or specific purchases. These are all things that are always on-hand for me that I just decided I’d throw together, and now it’s become part of our weekly rotation of meals, that is, until my husband eats it too many times in a short period of time and he decides he can never eat it again. Anyone else do this? This is a common problem for us. It’s like we just get too excited about something, want it all the time, and then burn ourselves out on it and then we never want it again. It’s an unfortunate vicious circle. #toxictraits.
The first thing I did was get my shrimp thawing. I started by opening up the bag of frozen shrimp in my freezer and weighing out 2/3 of a pound, which shakes out to about 10-11 ounces. I do not love leftover shrimp, so I got out exactly as much as we’d eat. I buy frozen raw shrimp, 20-30 per lb, peeled, de-veined & tails off. Use what you can find and what you prefer. (Side note: I’ve never used cooked shrimp, so I’m not positive how you’d make this if you buy them cooked & frozen, maybe just thaw them and toss ‘em in the sauce? You’d have to try it and let me know.) When I thaw these, I put them in a mixing bowl and then thaw them in water (not hot!) so they can come to a normal temperature without cooking or thawing too quickly.
Next, I prepped my fresh “produce” – the shallot & garlic. This is the time I confess that I am lazy and use my tiny food processor for just about anything I need to mince or chop small, especially onions/shallots/garlic. I prefer shallots in a lot of things because it has a milder onion flavor and aroma than actual onions. If you don’t have shallots on hand, that’s totally fine – you could easily sub in an actual onion, but you’d only need maybe a ¼ cup or maybe a ¼ of an onion. Just enough for the depth of flavor that onions bring to a dish. You’ll see here that I buzzed these in the food processor so that the shallot and garlic was very finely minced. Because the sauce is so thin, you don’t really want to get a chunk or big hunk of garlic or shallot/onion; that would be icky.
Once your little shrimp babies are thawed, I like to dry them off on some paper towel and pat them dry. This meal comes together pretty quickly, so you’ll want to make sure all of your ingredients are prepped and ready to go, because once you start, it just kind of pulls itself together. Once my shrimp are dry and I’m about ready to get going, I season them with salt and pepper. I’m pretty generous because I’m lazy and only intend on doing it once. Sometimes I’ve seen other people say that they season one side and then flip them over and do the other side; I don’t have the patience to do that, so I just get the one side done with what feels like enough to account for the naked side and call it good. #lazycooking #toxictraits.
Because this comes together so quickly, the very first thing I do when I’m actually ready to start getting things together is get my water boiling for my pasta. I like using the Buitoni refrigerated fresh pasta because it cooks in, like, literally 3 minutes, and that’s excellent. So, my suggestion is to get your water started (and pasta if you’re using a boxed pasta since it takes more than 3 minutes) because that can take a while and our shrimp cooks super-fast. It’s all about getting the timing right so everything is ready at the same time!
There’s really not much to this dish. I started with the shallots and garlic. Throw those babies in a pan with the butter and let them cook until they’re soft and translucent. Once they’re translucent and no longer have that “raw” look and smell, add in the shrimp.
From here, we build the sauce. The shrimp will continue to cook (and quickly), so go ahead and throw in the chicken stock, lemon juice, and crushed red pepper flakes, and, once the shrimp are pink and opaque, stir in the alfredo sauce. The alfredo sauce might look a little weird and separated right at first but keep stirring until it mixes fully in and looks smooth again. It only takes a minute. I usually let it go for another minute or two, just so it has a minute to thicken up a little. Once you can run your spoon through the sauce and it doesn’t immediately cover your pan (or you reach your desired thickness), you’re all set!
You guys, I’m not kidding you, it’s really that easy. This is all done in, like, two shakes of a lamb’s tail. That’s the best kind of dinner. Especially since this dinner doesn’t taste like it was the fastest dinner you’ll make all week, it tastes decadent and fancy while still being light and bright. You can’t beat it. Clean up’s a breeze, too, because it was basically one-pot.
Try it! I know you’ll love it! Check out the recipe below!
Freezer & Pantry Staples Shrimp Scampi
- 2/3 lb uncooked shrimp (I use 20-30 per lb, peeled, deveined & tails off)
- 1/2 tbsp light butter (I use Land O Lakes Light Butter Spread with Canola Oil)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium shallot minced
- 2/3 cup chicken stock (I use Trader Joe's low sodium chicken broth)
- 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
- 1.5 tsp kosher salt
- black pepper to taste
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup jarred alfredo sauce (I use Bertolli)
- 2 servings pasta of your choice (I use Buitoni Fresh Refrigerated Angel Hair Pasta; dry pasta is usually 2 oz per serving)
- Start by thawing your frozen shrimp. I like to measure out my shrimp then thaw it in a mixing bowl in water. Once shrimp is thawed, dry off on paper towel and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper.
- Start the water for your pasta so that your water is boiling and pasta will be finished by the time your shrimp is cooked. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
- Mince shallot and garlic. Add butter to skillet and saute shallot and garlic on medium heat until soft and translucent.
- Add shrimp to the skillet. Add chicken stock, lemon juice, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook until shrimp is opaque and pink, about 3-5 minutes. Add alfredo sauce and stir to mix in fully, sauce should be thin but cohesive. Allow sauce to reduce and thicken for another 1-2 minutes. Sauce will remain thin and light.
- Once shrimp is fully cooked through and sauce is finished, serve over pasta & enjoy!
- 10 WW myWW Smartpoints (Blue Plan 💙).
- 12 WW myWW Smartpoints (Green Plan 💚).
- 10 WW myWW Smartpoints (Purple Plan 💜)
- Smartpoint value could be lowered if using whole wheat pasta
- Calculated using the WW Recipe Creator.