Twirl your fork through a plate of shrimp scampi zoodles
I love pasta like I love my dog Junebug — unequivocally, deeply and without judgment. Just like Junebug can do no wrong, I have never met a plate of pasta that didn’t make my appetite swoon and my hand reach for the closest fork. Me and pasta, we’re simpatico.
So, when I began swapping my beloved noodles for zoodles — vegetables cut into long, noodle-like strips — it was as if the Earth gave forth a thunderous crack and the sky went dark.
Turn my back on my cherished noodles for vegetable impostors? Only it didn’t feel like culinary betrayal. My fork still twirled across my plate. The zoodles weren’t soggy or overcooked, as I initially feared. In fact, they retained a pleasant al dente texture. This delicious meal was flavorful and satisfying, but light. A stark contrast to my typical heavy carbtastrophe.
Dishes composed of zoodles, fresh spring veggies and herbs, are on heavy repeat this month at my house. And because vegetable noodles cook even faster than traditional pastas, dinner is on the table in time for us to enjoy it on the deck with the dogs watching the sinking sun paint the sky. In that respect, even Junebug approves of the swap.
Shrimp Scampi Zoodles
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon good olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1½ pounds zucchini, cut into long strips using a spiral cutting blade
¼ cup white wine
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
Zest from ½ lemon
Juice from ½ freshly squeezed lemon
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
Garnish: 1 lemon cut into wedges
In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic to the pot and sauté for 1 minute, being careful not to burn it. Toss in the shrimp, salt and freshly ground black pepper and continue cooking, stirring often, until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan.
Add white wine and lemon juice to the pot and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the zucchini noodles and cook another 1 to 2 minutes (any longer and the “noodles” might lose their firmness).
Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add shrimp, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine. Top with lemon wedges, if desired, and serve immediately.
Pro tip: One of the easiest ways to devein shrimp is to poke a toothpick completely through the shrimp body, beneath the vein, and pull it up through the flesh toward you. The toothpick hooks the vein allowing you to gently slide it out.