Celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich’s scampi recipe with prawns is a fantastic and simple dish for new cooks to try. It only takes about 30 minutes to make and, thanks to the chef, it’s delicious.
Bastianich’s memories of langoustines with prawns
The PBS host’s recipe calls for shallots, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, extra large or jumbo shrimp, fresh thyme and parsley, dry white wine, lemon juice , unsalted butter and breadcrumbs.
Writing on his sitethe chef recalled the popularity of the dish at her first restaurant: “In my early restaurant days in Queens, from 1971 to 1981, scampi with prawns were a major selling item on the menu, and we usually served them with risotto or with sautéed broccoli with garlic and oil.
She noted that the name of the dish is a bit repetitive: “’Scampi with prawns’ was the name, but it’s redundant because prawns and langoustines are both species of prawns.
“Scampi with prawns is important to early immigrants because in Italy, langoustines, the spiny variety of lobster, were prepared in this way. In the United States, shrimp is available, scampi is not, so early immigrants prepared whatever shrimp they found in the style of scampi they remembered.
The chef’s shrimp recipe is easy to prepare
Bastianich notes in his cookbook, Lidia’s favorite recipesthat there’s one thing in particular that cooks need to be careful about with shrimp.
“Everyone seems to love crispy garlic shrimp,” she writes. “The only cardinal mistake with shrimp is overcooking it.”
In this recipe, Bastianich avoids this by heating the oil and garlic in a pan and cooking the prawns with the thyme in batches, “until the prawns are seared but not completely cooked.”
After the prawns have been initially cooked, they are removed from the pan and a paste made in a small food processor or blender of shallots, garlic, and olive oil is heated in the pan. Thyme, white wine, lemon juice, salt, butter and water are added and everything is brought to a boil and simmered “until reduced by half”.
When the sauce has reduced, the butter is whipped in and the prawns are returned to the pan and tossed in the silky sauce until “just done”. Stir in the parsley and these prawn scampi are ready to serve.
Bastianich notes that if the sauce is rather thin, breadcrumbs can be added to give it more body.
Find the full recipe and reviews on the Food Network website.
A few reviewers found Bastianich’s recipe very easy but not quick
Some reviewers felt that the chef’s recipe was not as quick as they thought. It didn’t change how easy it was to make, and most importantly, how delicious the end result was.
” It was fantastic. BUT it took a lot longer to make than stated in the recipe. Boiling 2 cups of wine and 1 cup of water does not take 4/5 min to reduce by half. We will do it again and again, I’m sure,” said one reviewer.
Others added: “I honestly think this is one of the best recipes I’ve tried. I have never cooked shrimp in my life, but this was a really easy to use recipe! and “The…best scampi dish I’ve ever tasted.” I loved how the shrimp stayed moist and succulent since I followed the directions and only let them cook for a minute.
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