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.
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 felt 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
- 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
- Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.
- 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.
- Add the garlic and sauté until it begins to soften and smell good, stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
- Add the pasta to the water and cook for 4 minutes, or per package instructions.
- Meanwhile, add the broth and wine to the pan and cook for another minute or so.
- 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.)
- Spoon the pasta on to a big platter. Top with your greens and a big squeeze of lemon. Enjoy immediately.
Want more great food writing and recipes? Subscribe to Salon Food's newsletter.
More pasta we love:
- A salmon and pesto pasta to fall in love to
- The crunchiest, cheesiest macaroni and cheese bakes on a sheet pan
- Make pasta night special with Martha Stewart's sausage and kale stuffed shells
Salon Food writes about stuff we think you'll like. Salon has affiliate partnerships, so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.