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Shrimp Scampi

This is seriously THE BEST Shrimp Scampi you'll ever have!  Super flavorful thanks to a secret ingredient...read on to find out what it is!

Get ready for the BEST Shrimp Scampi you’ve ever tasted my friends! There’s a secret ingredient added to this recipe that adds so such incredible flavor – you’ll want to lick your plate clean!

Many years ago, when my husband Jack and I traveled to Tuscany for our honeymoon, we struck up a friendship with one of the American chefs – a great guy named Chris Covelli – who helped teach some of the cooking classes at Toscana Saporita. We bonded with Chris over our shared love of New England and the Boston Red Sox – plus, among other things, he was just a super sweet guy and very interesting to talk to!

This is seriously THE BEST Shrimp Scampi you'll ever have!  Super flavorful thanks to a secret ingredient...read on to find out what it is!

Back then, Chris also owned the restaurant L’uva which was located in Provincetown on Cape Cod, about an hour away from where we live. The summer after our honeymoon, we visited Chris’s restaurant for dinner and enjoyed the absolute best shrimp scampi we’ve ever had in our lives – which inspired our recipe today. (And – yes – Jack and I both cleaned our plates – sopping up every last little drop of goodness from that shrimp scampi dish!)

Chris was nice enough to share his ‘secret ingredient’ with us – pancetta – which he adds to his shrimp scampi. The pancetta gives it an amazing, rich flavor that perfectly complements the shrimp, garlic and other flavors in this dish! You can serve this as an appetizer with bread (great for soaking up the sauce) or over pasta.

P.S. Chris is writing a cookbook as we speak – and we can’t wait to see if our version of shrimp scampi comes close to his. (We think we’re pretty close!)

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Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi - A Family Feast

We recommend that you do not peel the shrimp before cooking – the shell preserves the juices and prevents the shrimp from shrinking as you cook.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound large shell-on shrimp (16-20 per pound)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ounce pancetta, diced fine
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 good pinch red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of salt
  • Few grinds black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Wash shrimp, drain and pat dry with paper towels. Do not peel.
  2. In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat and add pancetta. Cook slowly until slightly browned. You can remove and discard the pancetta after it is cooked or leave it in. We left the pancetta in but your choice.
  3. Add butter, garlic, pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook on low heat for three to four minutes or until garlic just starts to brown.
  4. Turn pan to medium high to high and when hot, add shrimp. Toss often and when shrimp is pink and cooked (2-3 minutes), remove pan from heat and add lemon juice, lemon zest and parsley. Toss to coat and return to heat for one scant minute to thicken sauce.
  5. Serve immediately by portioning shrimp out into small plates or bowls and pouring pan sauce over each portion.

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  1. I’ve been craving some shrimp scampi forever now… time to make it!

  2. Shrimp scampi is like one of my favorite things to eat ever – and then you go and add pancetta. I. Want. It. Now.

  3. close or not, this scampi looks amazing!

  4. I HAVE to make this! Shrimp scampi is one of my favorites, and I love the simplicity of the ingredients in this recipe.

  5. Shrimp Scampi was the first “real” dinner that my husband ever cooked for me while we were dating. The pancetta has got to send it over the top!

  6. One of my favorite ways to make shrimp

  7. I love pancetta, this looks amazingly delicious!

  8. This looks amazing!! I love all things shrimp!

  9. Aaah. I love Tuscany. I even loved it although we mostly ate ham and cheese baguettes that we put together ourselves to save money. 😉 And this shrimp looks great! I love that you tried to recreate it.

  10. I just love love love your photos! I really wanna come through the screen… gorgeous shrimp!

  11. I love love love shrimp scampi. You make it look so beyond delicious!

  12. I have never thought to use pancetta in shrimp scampi – brilliant!

  13. You’re right! This does look like the BEST shrimp scampi in the world. That secret ingredient is brilliant! I can’t wait to try this. Love how fast and healthy it is too! PINNING!!!

  14. Can I say that I drooled so much over these photos I had to go back to read your post? Holy scampi, this looks delicious!! I really hope you come close. I can’t even imagine how you can improve this one!

  15. The scampi looks amazing. I am looking forward to trying this recipe.

  16. This might be a very dumb question but what is pancetta and where do they sell it?

    • Hi Rebecca! No such thing as a dumb question! You would buy it at the deli counter at your supermarket – it’s an Italian cured ham similar to bacon but not smoked and it adds great flavor! Hope that helps!

  17. in order to devein the shrimp, you will need to peel the shrimp. your photo left the tail on but they were peeled and deveined……..your fool’n us.

    I did not have Pancetta, but I had and used smoked bacon…..a good alternate.

    • Hi Richard, this is Jack. If memory serves, we bought shell on deveined at our local market. The photos show shell on with a slit on the outside where the manufacturer removed the vein.

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