This Grilled Shrimp Scampi Pasta is a great dish for entertaining as most of it can be prepped ahead of time. It's a delicious combination of flavors with the addition of capers, thyme, tomato and lemon. With the shrimp being grilled, rather than sauteed, it adds another nice dimension of flavor. It also gave my husband a way to help with the food preparation by doing the grilling!
Last weekend, we hosted our Gourmet Group. I am so thankful that we had the weather we did, as the heat this weekend would have made al fresco dinner almost impossible. Everyone commented on how magical the night was. Perfect temperature and no mosquitoes! I served this Grilled Shrimp Scampi Pasta and everyone loved it. It was light and summery and we served grilled vegetables on the side which were prepped earlier in the day and served at room temperature. I had be working on the recipe for two weeks ahead of time and kept tweaking it until we both thought it was perfect.
Our group consists of 5 couples. The host and hostess prepare the menu and send a printed version to each couple, with their assignment of one of the courses. It's crazy, but we have been doing this for 25 years! At least 3 of the couples, including my husband and I, have been in the group that long, with the 4th couple joining a few years later after one couple moved because of a job change, and the 5th couple has been with us for the past 10 years. They replaced a couple that moved out-of-state after retirement. Hopefully, we can continue our tradition together for many more years to come :)
I was so happy that our friends were able to see my clematis collection in full bloom when they were here! You can see the table above was also surrounded by clematis also and the evening air had a lovely scent. With the heat wave we're having this weekend, we are so relieved that our dinner party was on such a beautiful night.
Grilled Shrimp Scampi PastaPrintable Recipe
1-1/2 pounds dried pasta (I used Capellini)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced (or to taste)
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1-1/2 cups dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
Zest and juice of 2 organic lemons
5 tablespoons salted butter
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
Do Ahead Notes:
1. Pasta can be boiled, rinsed under cool water and drained in the morning. Under-cook slightly. Toss with a little olive oil and place in a zipper lock bag in the refrigerator until 1 hour before assembly. When ready to start dinner, heat a large pot of boiling water and add the already-cooked pasta for 1 minute, just long enough to heat through, and then add to a large saute pan along with the heated sauce and grilled shrimp.
2. Sauce can be made in the morning. Refrigerate until 1 hour before assembly. When ready to start dinner, reheat sauce in a large saucepan or microwave until heated. I like to double the sauce and pass extra sauce at the table.
3. Shrimp can be peeled and deveined a day ahead. Keep in a bowl with fresh ice on top, covered, in the refrigerator.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Just before draining, remove 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Skewer shrimp and brush with oil and lemon juice or extra sauce, if you have made it ahead. Allow to marinate at least 30 minutes to an hour. Season with salt and pepper. Grill for 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove from skewers and set aside.
Sauce: In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoons olive oil. Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper and cook 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes, and sauté for another minute. Pour in the wine, lemon juice and zest, and reduce for a at least five minutes or so. Then add the diced tomatoes and capers, S&P, stir and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Stir in butter.
Add the shrimp and pasta to the sauce, tossing to combine. If needed, thin the sauce with a little of the pasta cooking water. Remove the pasta from the heat and stir in half of the parsley.
Divide the pasta between plates and top with the remaining fresh parsley and thyme. Pass extra sauce at the table.