Dave’s Shrimp Scampi with Celery Leaves


  • 1/2 lb (225 g) of dried pasta (I like linguine)
  • 1/2 lb (225 g) of shrimp
  • 1/2 (120 ml) cup of white wine
  • 1/2 head of garlic
  • celery leaves
  • lemon
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Get a pot of salted water boiling for the pasta.
  2. Make sure your shrimp are thawed, peeled and deveined, and blot them dry with a paper towel.
  3. Peel and chop the garlic, and chop up a roughly equivalent pile of celery leaves.
  4. Heat a large pan on medium-high, and coat the bottom with olive oil. When hot, drop in the shrimp, taking care to keep them all in one layer, flat against the pan.
  5. Now is usually a good time to start the pasta cooking, or you could wait until after the shrimp are done. Shrimp take 2-5 minutes to cook, depending on size, and you want to cook them most of the way on the first side so that it can brown.
  6. When the shrimp seem mostly opaque, scrape them off the pan with a wooden spoon, and stir them around until they’re fully opaque.
  7. Remove the shrimp to a plate and quickly put in the garlic. You might need to turn down the heat if it looks like things are going to burn.
  8. Fry the garlic until it’s just starting to turn golden, then deglaze with the white wine, scraping the pan to dissolve the fond. Squeeze in some lemon juice — anywhere from a few drops to half a lemon, depending on how much you like lemon.
  9. Reduce the liquid until almost dry, then remove from the heat.
  10. When the bubbling has mostly ceased, melt in 4 tablespoons (60 g) of cold butter, mixing constantly to form an emulsion with the reduced wine. (To ensure the sauce won’t break when the hot pasta hits it, stir in a pinch of xanthan gum if you have it.)
  11. When the pasta is cooked, mostly drain it, but try to keep about 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the cooking water. Put the pasta and the water into the pan with the sauce, and stir to combine everything.
  12. Stir in the shrimp and the celery leaves, and chili flakes, pepper and salt to taste — though if you used salted butter, you probably won’t need any additional salt.
  13. Serve and top with grated cheese.

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