This is one of my husband’s favorite dishes. As he is a real Mediterranean boy, it will come with no surprise for you to know that this is a recipe of his mother’s. She gave it to me not long after Jerome and I got engaged, as we moved out of our hometown pretty fast after our engagement (2 days after, to be exact!) and my man needed some familiar references to travel with, so to not feel totally lost in the world at some point. That is the reason why, one day, from our far-far-far-away island, I emailed his mother in order to get this recipe, and make my now-husband happy in the plate with these delicious Scampi Spaghetti, made of a sumptuous white wine, garlic and light cream tomato sauce.
For this blog post, I have even plated the pasta in a dish that my mother-in-law gave us just before we got married. It is quite old-style, but this is what almost all families in France were using in the 80’s, and Jerome has eaten all of his meals in these plates as a child. It is not that much to my liking, but it has a certain charm somewhat, and I thought it would be rather appropriate to use it for that specific dish.
I have tried to cook this recipe many times, and as often, I have tried to take some shortcuts that have come out as rather poor most times, therefore I would advise wise cooks to just follow the recipe directions that are described below, as these are the tried and proved-right directions that I now use every time! This is basically my mother-in-law recipe, but my only addition to it is that I soak the scampi into white wine before I cook them, I think it emphasizes the flavors and prevents them from drying off too much after they’re cooked.
INGREDIENTS (4 servings)
- 15 to 18 scampi or big shrimps
- 150 ml of a good white wine (and the rest of the bottle to drink along with the dish)
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves
- a bit of oil
- 1 small can of 4-5 peeled tomatoes with their juices
- 1/2 tsp of sugar to reduce the acidity of tomatoes
- salt and pepper
- 10 to 15 cl of light cream
- pasta for 4 servings (I like to use flat spaghetti)
- Shell off the scampi (heads, tails and body shell).
- Soak the scampi into the wine in a bowl.
- Thinly mince the garlic.
- Heat some oil in a large pan, and start frying the garlic. Remove it from the pan just seconds before it turns golden, but try to keep most of the oil in the pan. Set aside.
- Immediately sear the scampi in the same pan and oil. When putting them in the pan, do not pour the wine along, however it is okay that some of the wine from the scampi goes into the pan. Sear scampi on both sides until nicely golden brown. Remove from the pan and put the scampi back into the bowl of wine.
- Open the can of tomatoes and pour it all onto the pan. Dice the tomatoes immediately and put back the garlic.
- Add the sugar, salt and pepper. Let simmer.
- In the meantime, start boiling some water in a large saucepan for the pasta.
- After 5 minutes, add the scampi along with the white wine they’ve been soaking in. Cover them with sauce and simmer about 10 minutes on very low heat.
- Start cooking the pasta. Just al dente. The pasta will finish cooking in the sauce, so it is essential to cook them al dente in the water, otherwise they will get soggy, soft and unrealistically diminishing the quality of the overall dish!
- Drain the pasta when ready and leave them aside.
- Finish up the sauce by pouring the light cream, softly stir well to combine and stop the heat.
- Add the flat spaghetti to the pan, cover with the sauce and combine well.
- Serve warm, and top with a generous amount of grated Parmiggiano.
- Drink the same white wine as the one you used for the recipe, it enhances the flavors so much!
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2017 All Rights Reserved.