Lemony Shrimp Scampi Pasta

You guys, it’s only 2 more days until the opening ceremonies for the London Olympics!! I’ve only been counting down to this week or at least 2 or 3 months so to say I’m excited would be a pretty huge understatement. I’m most looking forward to the gymnastics, swimming/diving and tennis, but I’ll be watching as much of the other sports as I can too. I’ve been diligently working to clear space on my DVR in preparation and I’m anticipating there won’t be a whole lot of sleep happening once things get underway, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lemony Shrimp Scampi Pasta

I’m also expecting that my time in the kitchen will be drastically reduced over the next few weeks. Baking will probably be nonexistent, so I’ve been filling my freezer with things like cookie dough and fruit crumbles that I can quickly and easily pull out and throw in the oven. Dinners will need to be simple as well, I foresee a lot of grilling in our future!

Over the past few weeks I’ve been trying a lot of new recipes, though, to ensure I’d have plenty of things to blog while I immerse myself in the Olympics. This lemony shrimp scampi has been one of the best finds. It’s definitely easy enough to be suitable for a weeknight, but I’d be comfortable serving it to company too. The lemon flavor really comes through (I guess we’re on a lemon kick this week, the trend continues tomorrow too :) ) and the dish is actually pretty spicy, thanks to the red pepper flakes. Shane loved the heat, but I’d probably cut back just a tad for my benefit next time. Shrimp plus pasta is pretty much always a winning combination and this dish was no exception.

So, will you guys be watching the Games? If so, what are you most excited to see?

Lemony Shrimp Scampi Pasta
adapted from Melissa d’Arabian (via FoodNetwork.com)

6 garlic cloves, minced
2 lemons, zested and juiced
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (reserve shells)
1/4 of an onion (no need to peel or chop)
3/4 lb thin linguini
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley

In a medium bowl, stir together the garlic, zest and juice of 1 lemon, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and the shrimp. Set aside to marinate.

Meanwhile, to make the shrimp stock: In a medium saucepan, combine the shrimp shells and the onion. Add water to cover and set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl. Discard the shells and onion.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Set a large skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, remove the shrimp from the marinade (reserve the marinade!) and toss them in. Cook for about 1-2 minutes per side, just until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. Transfer the shrimp to a plate then add the reserved marinade. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes, then add 1 cup of the shrimp stock and the reserved pasta cooking water. Continue cooking until the sauce has reduced by half. Stir in the zest and juice of the remaining lemon, the butter and the parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and pasta, and toss to coat with the sauce.