Saturday, 27 October 2012

Scamper to the Table

I can never remember what Shrimp Scampi is. Whenever I hear those words I get a picture of a squirrel stuffing his mouth full of food for the winter and scampering around the yard to bury everything. And I know that's not what Shrimp Scampi is.

After spending a few minutes researching what Shrimp Scampi is, I realized it's a difficult meal to define. Scampi are actually small lobsters, or langoustines, so calling Shrimp Scampi by this name is actually just calling it Shrimp Big Shrimp. And that really doesn't define anything.

A little more research showed me that traditional recipes include shrimp sauteed with butter and garlic, maybe with some lemon juice and parsley on top. And the dish is usually served with pasta or rice.

My version is inspired by a healthy cooking recipe and includes artichokes and butternut squash instead of pasta or rice. It makes the dish lower in calories and carbohydrates, but is packs a lot of flavour.

Shrimp Scampi - serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 1/4 lbs shrimp, peeled (the larger the better, but size doesn't really matter)
6-8 artichoke hearts, chopped (either defrosted from frozen or canned)
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil the butternut squash in salted water until it's fork tender, about 15 minutes.

2. While squash is boiling, cook the onion and garlic in olive oil a frying pan at medium heat until they're soft, about 3-4 minutes.

3. Add the artichokes, shrimp, wine, butter, and lemon juice. Cook until shrimp turn pink, about 3-5 minutes (depending on size of shrimp).

4. Toss with parsley and season to taste with and salt and pepper.

5. Serve Shrimp Scampi on top of butternut squash and top with additional parsley if desired.

This dish would also be great on top of rice or pasta, but then it's much less festive for upcoming holiday isn't it?

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