Spicy Scampi with Burrata and Pistachios

SERVES: 4

Unlike the classic, my version of shrimp scampi doubles down on the shrimp factor by coarsely chopping the shrimp into bite sized pieces, and marinating them with garlic and chilies. The little pieces get lost in the spicy, brothy butter sauce and tangled up in the pasta, so there’s shrimp in every bite. Burrata mellows out the heat, and finely ground pistachios take the place of parm, thickening the scampi sauce and offering crunch.

Active Time: 45 Mins

Total Time: 45 mins

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Produce

  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 large lemon

Pantry

  • ⅔ cup roasted salted pistachios
  • 2 ½ tablespoons jarred chopped calabrian chilies in oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 12 ounces tubular pasta (paccheri, calamarata, rigatoni)
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Dairy

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces burrata cheese

Protein

  • 1 ½ pounds peeled deveined shrimp (any size)

1. Do some prep:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Peel 8 garlic cloves.
  • Remove the tails from 1½ lbs deveined shrimp.

2. Blitz some stuff:

  • To the bowl of a food processor, add ⅔ cup roasted salted pistachios. Blitz until finely chopped but not yet fully ground. Scoop out a couple tablespoons of the pistachios to set aside for serving. Continue to blitz the remaining pistachios until very finely ground. Transfer the pistachio meal to a medium bowl.
  • Add the 8 garlic cloves to the food processor and blitz until finely chopped. To the food processor, add the peeled shrimp, 2 ½ tablespoons of chopped calabrian chilies in their oil, 1 ½ teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. Finely grate the zest of 1 lemon into the food processor and then pulse/blitz until the shrimp is coarsely chopped and paste like––this will likely take 6 or 8 pulses. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl in between pulses. Set aside.

3. Cook the pasta and build the scampi:

  • Once the pasta boils, stir in 12 ounces whatever pasta shape you are using. Take a look at package directions, and set a timer for 4 minutes shy of the proposed cook time.
  • While the pasta cooks, heat a large Dutch oven over medium high. Once hot, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, swirling to melt. Once melted, add all of the contents of the food processor and pat the shrimp down in a single layer in the pot. Let cook undisturbed for about 3 minutes, or until lightly browned underneath, but still raw on top. Give the shrimp a good stir and then remove from the heat until your pasta time goes off.
  • Once the timer goes off, transfer the cooked pasta and 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid to the pot of shrimp. Set the pot over medium heat. Add 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, and another glug of olive oil and stir until the butter has fully melted.
  • Once the sauce comes to a simmer, add the finely ground pistachios (saving those chopped ones!), and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce reduces and thickens enough to coat the noodles and the pasta is fully cooked, 4-5 minutes longer. The sauce should not be so reduced that there’s nothing at the bottom of the pot, so if the pasta is not yet cooked and it seems to be getting dry, add more pasta water to loosen it up and continue cooking.

4. Finish and serve:

  • Squeeze in the juice of the zested lemon. Taste the sauce and add more salt as needed til it starts tasting realllll nice.
  • Divide among bowls. Tear 6 ounces of burrata into shards, dolloping them over the pasta. Sprinkle with the remaining pistachios and drizzle with olive oil before serving.

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