Texas Living

Spicy (Texas) Shrimp Scampi

By Eve Hill-Agnus 4.19.24

The origins of the word scampi are broad enough (in Italian, “scampi” simply refers to langoustines, cousins of shrimp) that I always feel at ease experimenting. And the results are endlessly enticing in this case.

This shrimp scampi dish revolves around the freshest, juiciest shrimp you can find, ideally from a fish market, and the holy trinity of garlic, butter, and chicken broth, which will make your kitchen smell extraordinary. Because it’s Texas, this recipe gets an extra punch of heat and flavor from cayenne and a dash of cumin.

Given how brilliantly fast shrimp cook, it’s a brief stint in a skillet, and in no time you’re spooning the aromatic concoction over your favorite long-stranded pasta (spaghetti, linguine, fettucine, or angel hair). Serve it up with a warm loaf of crusty bread to mop up the bright, rich sauce. Weeknight dinner or weekend entertaining has never been easier.

Shrimp Scampi
Photo by Natalie Goff. Styling by Kylie Valigura


Serves 4

  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2–1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Shrimp Scampi
Photo by Natalie Goff. Styling by Kylie Valigura


Whisk 2 garlic cloves, the kosher salt, and 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a medium bowl. Add shrimp, toss to coat, and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the marinated shrimp for 1–1 1/2 minutes on each side, being careful not to overcook (the shrimp will just begin to turn pink). Using a slotted spoon, set the shrimp on a plate, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible.

Add the remaining 2 garlic cloves (thinly sliced), crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne, and cumin to the skillet and cook, tossing, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and lemon juice and cook, swirling occasionally, until reduced by half (about 2 minutes). Add the butter and cook until it melts and the sauce thickens slightly, approximately 5 minutes.

Return the shrimp to the skillet and toss to coat. Allow the shrimp to cook through and turn from light grayish-pink to a vibrant, opaque pinkish-white (1–2 minutes). Remove from the heat, add the lemon zest, and toss to combine. Transfer to a platter and garnish with the parsley and more red pepper flakes as desired. Enjoy immediately.

If you enjoyed this Texan shrimp scampi, continue the seafood fare with New England clambake that’s sure to impress family and friends at your next soiree.

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