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Since it is my birthday today, this post is all about speed. I chose to create a meal that was fast to cook, photograph, and write about because I have a whole list of things I want to do. This brings me to the subject of today’s post, Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Linguini.
Traditionally, shrimp scampi (meaning local prawn in the Venetian dialect by the way) is seasoned with lemon juice and freshly chopped parsley. Because the zucchini linguini has a little pesto in it though, and that pesto has a lot of cilantro (curtsy of my last visit to the farmers market), I decided to go with lime juice and cilantro instead.
Lime juice + cilantro = match made in heaven. It really is the best and people here in California know that. In my opinion, this comes from being surrounded by a ton of delicious Mexican and Vietnamese cuisine influences. You can’t have food truck fish tacos without a liberal dowsing of lime juice and fresh cilantro and pho just isn’t the same without squeezing lime juice and throwing some cilantro into the bowl.
Anyway, if any of you follow my Instagram feed, you know I’ve been a little pesto crazy lately. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, it is a fast way to add a lot of flavor.
I take out one cube from the ice tray, cut it in half, and then use it to spread on bread or mix it with veggies, fruit, or eggs. Second, it’s been warm and cutting down time in the kitchen is always nice when it is hot, plus I’ve always considered pesto a spring and summer kind of food. Third, because pesto is almost like a paste, you can use it as a base, an addition, or a topping-making it a good creative type of food. It just seems to inspire new flavor and texture combinations.
The pesto is very subtle in this recipe: only one tablespoon for 4 to 6 spiralized zucchini. But when combined with the Shrimp Scampi, the flavor from the pesto pops and compliments the flavors infused in the shrimp. Served with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and some bread to dip into the sauce, and you’ve got a relaxing and fulfilling dinner.
Prep all the ingredients first because this dish cooks very fast. Peel and spiralize 4 to 6 the zucchini (it depends on the size-just be aware the amount shrinks when cooked and you need enough for four people) and set the noodles aside. Mince 4 garlic cloves (I use a garlic press-I like the garlic to be very fine in texture), chop 1/4 cup cilantro, and squeeze some limes to get 1 tablespoon of juice. Pour 1/3 cup of Sauvignon Blanc or other dry white wine into a measuring cup and set aside. Measure out a 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and also set aside.
Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once it is hot, add about 1.5 pounds of large shrimp (I bought ones that were already peeled and deveined which saves a lot of prep time) and sauté for 1 minute. Add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute. Stir in the wine and salt and pepper and bring to a boil (this happens almost instantly). Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 30 seconds. Add the cilantro and lime juice and toss to coat well, cooking for another minute or until the shrimp are done. Pour into a serving bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet, place another teaspoon of olive oil and heat on medium-high. Once the oil is hot, add the zucchini noodles, one tablespoon of pesto, and salt and pepper to taste. Keep mixing and tossing for 1 to 2 minutes to make sure all the noodles get coated and cooked (but not soggy). Serve out the zucchini noodles onto four plates and top with the shrimp, drizzling a bit of the sauce onto the top of each serving.
If you don’t have pesto already made, it really doesn’t add a lot of time to make some, so I’m providing a pesto recipe as well. Enjoy!
Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Linguini
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1.5 pounds large peeled and deveined shrimp about 28 shrimp
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/3 cup Sauvignon Blanc or other dry white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 zucchini peeled and spiralized
- 1 tablespoon pesto
- salt and pepper
- Peel and spiralize the zucchini.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and sauté for 1 minute. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the wine, salt, and pepper and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook 30 seconds. Add the cilantro and lime juice and toss well to coat. Cook 1 minute or until the shrimp are done. Pour into a medium sized serving bowl and set aside.
- In the same skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. When it's warm, add the spiralized zucchini, tablespoon of pesto, and the salt and pepper. Stir until the pesto is distributed equally and the zucchini is slightly cooked but not soggy, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Equally distribute the zucchini noodles onto 2 or 4 plates, top with the shrimp, and drizzle the sauce from the shrimp scampi equally over all the plates.
Cilantro Basil Pesto
- 1/2 cup good quality olive oil plus more if needed
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup basil
- 1.5 cups cilantro stems and leaves
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts filberts
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
- Combine the olive oil, garlic, and the greens in a food processor or high speed blender and pulse until smooth. Add the hazelnuts and parmesan cheese and pulse until the mixture reaches the desired consistency. Add more olive oil if the mixture is clumping together.
- Use immediately or freeze in ice cube trays to use for later.