Shrimp was on sale last week so I decided to splurge and buy the clean and deveined kind, since I don’t really need a lot for two people and skipping the shrimp cleaning makes this doable for even a Monday night supper. After Tyler took a few bites, he gave me a sweet compliment, “Wow, this is even good enough for a date night”. He knows one of my favorite things to do on the weekend (which also saves money and the stress of eating out when you can’t eat gluten) is have an at home date night. I make something special or slow cooked, open a bottle of wine and we make it feel like our own little restaurant for two. There are a few things that make this recipe a little bit different and special enough for date night, without over-complicating the process.
Let’s start with the star ingredient, shrimp. Something Liz Lemon and I have in common is an affection for the Barefoot Contessa. Who wouldn’t dream of an invite to the Hamptons for supper with Ina? I feel like I’ve learned some of my best tricks from Ina, and this one is amazing. Back in the day I tried her awesome roasted shrimp cocktail for a party and after that I stopped making shrimp any other way for all of my recipes. Just try it once and I promise you will be hooked. Boiling shrimp sucks out all of the flavor and sautéing it requires perfect timing to make sure it doesn’t turn out dry and overcooked. Instead, I just pop these guys in the oven and they come out perfectly cooked and full of flavor every time. Not only does this method make your shrimp scampi stand out, I also think it makes it easier for the cook. If making this recipe on a busy weeknight, you can focus on the sauce without the shrimp diverting your attention; or if cooking for company, you can easily time when to put the shrimp in the oven to get everything on the table (and warm) at the same time.
The other ingredients are strategically selected to make this recipe pop, without too much trouble. I like shallots for the onion here so that together with the garlic is isn’t overpowering, just flavorful. Parsley is a more traditional fresh herb for scampi, but I like the sweetness of basil as a way to put my own stamp on a classic dish. Finally I’m generous with the lemon juice and don’t toss out the most flavorful part of a lemon, the zest, which makes a big difference in this recipe. I’ve changed up the directions for this post to share my timing tips to get this on the table any night of the week.
Give it a try and come back to let me know how it went! Did this supper make you a shrimp roasting convert?
Ingredients: (Makes 2 generous portions and can be easily adapted for more)
- About 6 ounces gluten free spaghetti
- About 1/2 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined [Time saver: Buy cleaned shrimp if making this on a weeknight]
- Olive oil, salt, and cracked black pepper
- 2 medium shallots, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1-2 lemons), plus half a lemon for squeezing on top of the shrimp
- Zest of one lemon
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1.5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Handful of fresh basil chiffonade (fancy word for thin strips)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese
Directions: (Following these steps makes this an easy weeknight supper!)
Prep the sauce & start the pasta:
- Bring pasta water to a boil and start cooking according to package directions (most GF pasta takes awhile to cook and you can use that time to prep everything else)
- While the water comes to a boil and the just starts cooking, prep all of the sauce ingredients so that you have your “mis en place”
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees
- Add about one tablespoon of olive oil to a large sauté pan (big enough that it will fit the pasta later, which will finish cooking in the sauce)
- Sprinkle the shallots with a bit of kosher salt, fresh pepper and cook on medium heat until softened, about 4-5 minutes
- While the shallots cook, prepare the shrimp for roasting. Rinse and dry the shrimp, then place in an oven safe dish. Toss with about half a tablespoon or so of olive oil (so everything is coated but not drowning), 1/2 teaspoon of salt and some cracked black pepper, set aside
- When you have about 2 minutes of cook time remaining on the pasta add the prepped shrimp to the oven and roast for about 8-10 minutes until completely cooked through. This should give you enough time to drain the pasta, finish the sauce and put everything together without the shrimp getting cold.
- Add the fresh garlic, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper to the sauté pan and cook for only about one minute
- Pour in the liquid ingredients (lemon juice, chicken stock, wine), bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium-low and let the sauce reduce down and thicken, about 5 minutes
- Drain your pasta and rinse as needed (most rice noodle need rinsing for the best texture)
- Add the drained pasta and the butter to the saute pan and use tongs to mix well, ensuring all of the pasta is well coated
- Let the pasta warm through and marry with the sauce on medium-low heat, about 3 minutes
- Remove from heat and toss with fresh basil and about half of the cheese. Finish the shrimp but squeezing about a half a lemon over the top.