Shrimp Scampi is a delicious dish to prepare as a simple meal between the holidays when time is limited; and since it’s a favorite meal of my son’s, it makes me think about him and realize how even the flavor of the holidays evolves and changes as our children grow and become young adults themselves.
When I considered what would be a good, simple, cozy and comforting recipe to share here on the blog with you this week, one that could be a great go-to meal between the holidays when time is scarce and the weather cold, Shrimp Scampi came to mind as the perfect offering.
With its succulent shrimp; rich, buttery and wine-y sauce; and tender-yet-toothsome pasta to twirl on the fork, what could be more flavorful, luxurious, and simple to whip up when a bowl of something piping hot and scrumptious is desired to warm the belly?
Actually, I’ve had Shrimp Scampi on the brain for the past several weeks now, truth be told.
I’ve been chomping at the bit to prepare it for our family as my hubby and I have been hoping to be able to spend a little time with our son during this holiday season—fingers crossed!
Our son is a new Marine, and so his time is no longer truly his own; and we’re all thrilled to get whatever opportunity we do to spend together, especially during this particular holiday season since it’s our first one with him in the Marine Corps, and we don’t know where he’ll be a year from now.
See, children give us reason to make the holidays extra cozy, comforting, and shimmery. The youngsters bring out the kid in all of us adults (they do in my hubby and I for sure!).
We find ourselves planning cozy movie nights while sipping hot chocolates; or decorating our home in an especially soft, twinkly, glowing and inviting way in order to make it appear a little like a winter wonderland (even if we do live in So Cal); or piling into the car, putting on some good music, and driving through some of the beautiful, local neighborhoods with gloriously decorated homes, and perhaps even getting out to take a little impromptu walk together.
But as children grow up and become young adults, things certainly change; and with that, the flavor of the holidays changes slightly as well.
With our son now grown, and taking on the very adult and serious line of work that he has, the holidays will now, most certainly, take on a slightly different look and feel, one that we must adapt to and make our new “norm”.
The goal, now, is not to give the holidays a “child-like” flare, necessarily, but rather to make our home a warm, inviting, comforting and soft place to land for our son, one where he can come to regroup, relax, and feel utterly enveloped in his parent’s love and care for him.
Of course, it’ll still be very food-centered, and a time to bring out the special decorations, the soft lights, and the gentle music, and to warm ourselves next to the flickering fireplace.
But now, the holidays are more of a time to have conversations of the sharing kind, and moments of connectivity and openness, so that we may come together in a more mature and unique way.
It doesn’t mean that all of the whimsy of the holidays must now vanish; it simply means that just as there is a time for everything in life, and that things change and evolve, so too do the holidays change in the way they look and feel as those youngest in our midst grow into beautiful, complex, intelligent young adults with desires and lives of their own.
After all, isn’t that what we raise them to become?
So though the holidays may take on a new look and feel for us going forward, I know we’ll do our best to fill them with all of the meaningful things, those sustaining things, that bind us together and keep us a close family.
I’ll always be eager and ready to prepare some Shrimp Scampi, or whatever dish our son may be craving when he comes back home to spend a little time with us; and both my husband and I will always be enthusiastic to see how our boy has changed and matured, grown and developed, each and every time we do get to put our arms around him, whether it’s the holidays or not.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 4-6
• 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp (medium size, 21/25 count)
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• Olive oil
• 2 shallots, minced
• 6 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• Pinch red pepper flakes (more if you like it more spicy!)
• ½ cup white wine (Sauvignon Blanc is good)
• Juice of ½ lemon
• ½ cup warm chicken stock
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 8 ounces spaghetti (or angel hair) pasta, cooked according to package instructions, and held warm
• ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• Shaved parmesan, for garnish
-Place the shrimp into a bowl, and add a couple of good pinches of salt and pepper, plus the Italian seasoning, and toss to coat.
-Place a large skillet or pan over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 2-3 tablespoons of the olive oil; once hot, add in the shrimp, working in batches if necessary, and allow them to sear for about 1 – 2 minutes per side, or until slightly golden and cooked through; remove with slotted spoon into a bowl to hold, and repeat until all shrimp have been seared.
-Into that same pan add another good drizzle of olive oil, then add in the shallot, garlic and red pepper flakes, and stir just until they become aromatic, about 20-30 seconds; then add in the wine, lemon juice, chicken stock, and butter, and stir, allowing the butter to melt in, and the sauce to boil and reduce down for about 3-4 minutes; turn off the heat.
-Add the shrimp back into the pan, along with the cooked pasta, plus the parsley and lemon zest, and toss everything with tongs to coat well; add a couple of pinches of salt/pepper, as needed.
-Serve while fresh and hot, topped with a little parmesan, if desired, and some crusty bread on the side.