Lemony Shrimp with Linguine

lemony shrimp with linguine

I'd like to think everyone has that one recipe that they can cook at the drop of a hat, one that's easy to put together with a few pantry staples. For me it's my lemony shrimp with linguine. I call this my "back pocket" recipe, as it's something I can pull out of thin air when I need to cook a quick meal either for myself or unexpected guests. I always have a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer just in case. I always keep multiple packages of pasta, either spaghetti or linguine, in my pantry. And I always have lots of garlic, parsley, and lemons in my kitchen as those are ingredients I use all the time in my cooking. So this meal is always doable. It's so simple to make and simply delicious.

If you haven't noticed, I'm a big lemon lover. I make many pasta dishes that feature lemon, and winter is the perfect season to try all the different lemon varieties. This recipe would work just as well with Meyer lemon, Amalfi lemon, Sicilian lemon, or the most common Eureka lemon. You'll want to use both the zest and juice, so make sure to pick up a lemon that looks heavy for its size, which ensures it will have plenty of juice. And look for a lemon with bright, unbruised skin. I like to use a fruit and vegetable wash to take off the protective wax coating before I zest the lemon.

One important thing to note with a recipe as simple as this, is that you really need to have good ingredients to start with, and you need to make sure not to overcook anything, either the shrimp or the pasta. The shrimp is done when it turns pink on all sides. Cook the pasta a few minutes short of the package directions before adding it to the skillet with the shrimp. This will ensure the pasta isn't overcooked, but also that it will absorb some of the sauce that forms from the olive oil, lemon juice, and starchy pasta water.

Lemony Shrimp with Linguine

12 ounces linguine or spaghetti
coarse sea salt
olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
12 ounces large shrimp
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
large pinch peperoncino (optional)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
small bunch parsley, finely chopped

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Liberally season the water with coarse salt. Add the pasta, and cook about 2 minutes short of package directions

Meanwhile, warm a large skillet over medium heat. Lightly coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Add the shrimp, and season with salt and pepper. Sear until they start to turn pink, about 1 to 2 minutes for the first side. Stir and flip the shrimp to cook the other sides, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Add peperoncino, if using, toast for 30 seconds, and and toss to coat shrimp. Add lemon juice and zest, tossing the shrimp to coat.

Using tongs, transfer the pasta to the skillet. Add a ladleful or two of pasta water, and continue to cook the pasta and the shrimp together for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the parsley.

Remove the skillet from the heat. Check the seasoning, drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat. This addition of olive oil will help form a luscious sauce. Serve immediately. Yield: 2 to 4 servings.


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