Here’s a new spin on traditional shrimp scampi. I just added a little zing with a touch of fresh cilantro and red pepper. Sometimes, it’s those easy little touches that create an interesting spin on a familiar dish.

I’m not big on following recipes, although I’ve learned from the best– great Italian relatives! I’m a cook that likes to “mash it up,” and I rarely measure, but I’m pretty good at gauging measurements.  I set out to make a traditional dish, but found some cilantro calling my name, so how could I resist a little experimentation?

Here’s what’s in the dish:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pat of butter
  • dash of salt
  • fresh garlic
  • 1 cup fettuccine
  • about a cup quartered zucchini
  • 6-8 large raw, shelled shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon of Pecorino Romano cheese or Parmesan cheese
  • red pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4 springs of fresh cilantro

Directions: 

  1. Mince garlic and add the olive oil, and butter to a small saucepan.  I like to allow the garlic to “infuse” the oil, rather than saute,  so keep it on very low heat. Any oil you don’t use, you can keep in an air tight container for a few days. If the the garlic and oil starts to bubble, immediately remove from heat, because you could be in danger of burning the garlic.
  2. Cook fettuccine and drain. Quickly rinse with cool water to halt the cooking process. Set aside.
  3. In a saute pan, place 1 tablespoon of garlic and olive oil mixture and quartered zucchini. Saute over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes, but watch out, because zucchini can become mushy fast! Remove from saute pan, set aside.
  4. Place shrimp in saute pan with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and saute over medium heat for 1 minute on each side.
  5. Enjoy!

I hope my little experiment has inspired you to put your own spin on a traditional dish. Will tomorrow night be the night?

Do you consider yourself an adventurous cook who takes chances, or do you follow recipes to a the letter? Share your comments here and let’s start a discussion!