Butter, garlic and lots of wine make this 10-minute pasta dinner simply irresistible

Who needs shrimp when you've got all this?

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published March 27, 2022 5:30PM (EDT)

Scampi (Mary Elizabeth Williams)
Scampi (Mary Elizabeth Williams)

You don’t need an expensive new piece of equipment, or an obscure ingredient you have to hunt for. You just need a fresh way of preparing an old favorite. In "One Way," we’ll revisit classic ingredients and dishes, giving them a new twist with an easy technique you haven’t tried before.

One of my favorite cinematic food scenes is a scene from the movie "Bugsy." The glamorous Virginia Hill (played by the glamorous Annette Bening) sits down to eat with her mobster lover. Before digging in to dinner, she tells him, "I hope you like scampi, served on a bed of soft brown rice, rimmed by carrots and peas." Bening makes every word of that sentence sound like the sexiest thing in the entire world.

I used to think "scampi" was the sauce that was served with the shrimp. I recently learned, however, that scampi is a crustacean. This means that when you're serving "shrimp scampi," you're basically serving crustacean crustacean. As someone who's allergic to shrimp, crustacean crustacean is definitely a no no.

RELATED: This saffron-packed chickpea and almond pasta will transport you to Spain

So, what if I made scampi without the scampi? What if I kept that incredible buttery, garlicky, winey sauce — and put it on something that wouldn't induce anaphylaxis? And what if I amped it up by browning the butter? Shrimp? Never heard of it.

Scampi is such a beautifully retro dish, so it feels only right to put it on angel hair pasta. A super thin pasta provides the bonus of helping dinner come together in almost no time. Served with an iceberg wedge and a bottle of Chianti, it's a meal that oozes glamour but can thrown together in 10 minutes for pennies on the dollar.


Recipe: Angel Hair Scampi
Inspired by Natasha's Kitchen

4 servings
Prep Time
 10 minutes
Cook Time
 10 minutes


  • 12 ounces angel hair pasta (or your favorite pasta shape)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chicken broth 
  • 3 tablespoons parsley or cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon 
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste



  1. Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. 
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over a medium flame, heat the butter until until it foams and starts to turn brown. Add the olive oil and salt and pepper.
  3. Add the garlic and sauté until it begins to soften and smell good, stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the pasta to the water and cook for 4 minutes, or per package instructions.
  5. Meanwhile, add the broth and wine to the pan and cook for another minute or so.
  6. With tongs, add the pasta to the pan to absorb all of the sauce. Stir well. (You can, of course, drain the pasta and add it to the pan. Just reserve a few tablespoons of the cooking water to add, as well.)
  7. Spoon the pasta on to a big platter. Top with your greens and a big squeeze of lemon. Enjoy immediately.

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By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Butter Dinner Easy Weeknight Meals Food Garlic One Way Pasta Recipe Scampi Wine