When I was but a young lass (18 or so), I decided that I wanted to master at least one recipe. Being a tad naive, I went to Borders and bought the “cookbook du jour” — Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals.
I’m not interested in a Rachel bashing rant — I do respect the woman for coming up with so many recipes and for getting EVOO in the dictionary — but I will say that her recipes never take just 30 minutes to prepare. With an average of 20 ingredients, at least one of which you’ll have to go to a specialty store to buy (ground unicorn horn, for example), there is just no way that with prep and cooking time you’ll have dinner on the table before the nightly news begins. At 11 pm.
I was ready to abandon the proverbial ship, when Nate’s mother (who is an accomplished cook and baker) copied for me a few recipes from one of her Ina Garten cookbooks. I zeroed in on the linguine with shrimp scampi, which seemed accessible and really not too scary. I don’t remember much from my first scampi dry run — I think I actually shelled and deveined the shrimp myself (something I never do anymore — frozen, anyone?). What I do recall is everyone’s general enjoyment while eating the scampi, and my lack of leftovers.
Over the years, this delicious shrimp scampi dish has been a go-to I prepare when I want something filling, simple, and pleasing. Oddly enough, until two weeks ago, it had been almost a year and a half since I had made my old standby. I knew I had to rectify the situation.
Armed with linguine, frozen shrimp, lemons, lots of garlic and olive oil, and the other minimal ingredients, I was ready to cook. And the steps were just as easy and accessible as I had remembered — really, all you do is saute, toss, and eat. The shrimp are deliciously garlicky with a nice lemon backdrop, and the red pepper flakes add a little kick on the tail end of each bite. This is a nice summer dinner and goes great with French bread, a light salad, and mango sorbet for dessert. I speak from experience.