Shrimp Scampi with Basmati Rice

Shrimp are always welcome in my house.  There are many different ways to prepare shrimp, so we never get bored with them.  Shrimp Scampi is an Italian-American dish that can be found in almost every Italian or Sea Food Restaurant.

I’m not sure how the name of the dish, Shrimp Scampi came about, because it is a bit redundant; in fact, scampi are langoustines or lobster-like crustaceans found in Italy. Our American version is modeled after an Italian dish made with olive oil, garlic, onions and white wine, but we substitute the scampi with shrimp. No matter what the origins, this is a delicious meal.

This recipe is easy and fast to prepare, especially if you buy the shrimp already deveined.  The rice takes about 25 minutes to prepare, but even so you can have dinner on the table in about 45 minutes.

Ingredients for Basmati Rice:
1 1/2 – cups basmati rice
1/3 – cup diced shallot
2 – tbls. canola oil
3 – cups chicken stock
1/2 – tsp. salt

1/2 – tsp. Adobo seasoning
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Heat canola oil in a large skillet then add the diced shallot and cook on medium heat until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat each grain with the oil.

Cook about 3-4 minutes until the rice starts to toast. Stir it often to prevent it from burning.

Now add the chicken stock, salt, black pepper and Adobo. Stir and cover with a lid to bring to a boil. (I use a low-sodium chicken stock. Go easy on the salt, you can always add more later.) Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook until the liquid is absorbed. This takes about 20 minutes. The rice should be tender and flakey.

Take off the heat and set aside until the shrimp are ready.

Ingredients for Shrimp:
1 – lb. extra large shrimp with tails, cleaned and deveined. (Buy them already cleaned and deveined from the market)
4 – cloves garlic
1/4 – cup olive oil
1/4 – cup unsalted butter
1/4 – cup diced shallot
1/3 – cup dry white wine
1/4 – tsp. red pepper flake
1 – lemon
Fresh Italian flat parsley
Salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet, then add the garlic cloves and sauté until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Be sure not to let them burn. Meanwhile, rinse the shrimp in cold water and drain. Once the garlic is ready add the shrimp and sprinkle with a little salt and ground black pepper.

Cook until they just start to turn pink. Stir often to cook all sides. This should take only about 4 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp to a bowl and set aside, but leave the garlic in the skillet. Add the shallot and red pepper flake, and sauté about 2 minutes until they start to soften.

Now add the juice of the lemon and the wine and cook about 2 minutes until the alcohol cooks out.  Add about one tablespoon of butter and return the shrimp to the skillet.

Toss and cook about one minute more. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.

Serve the shrimp over the rice and drizzle the sauce over the shrimp and the rice.

Makes 4 servings.

Serve immediately.

Buon appetito!

Persian Rice


When we have the opportunity to eat Persian rice we take it. It is so delicious just by itself, but when you pair it up with Persian or Indian cuisine it is a match made in heaven. My friend, Diane, learned to cook Persian cuisine after she married. When we got together she often made the rice to go along with other Persian delights. I asked her how she did it, and she shared the method with me. It takes some time because you need to soak the rice first, but the cooking process is straight forward and it comes out perfect. This recipe makes a large quantity of rice, enough to use for a few days.

4 – cups basmati rice
1 – large potato
1 – package Goya Sazón Seasoning
1 – cup butter or canola oil

It is very important that you soak the rice for at least 5 hours prior to cooking. This removes the starch so that it does not stick together. The end result will produce a perfect bowl of fluffy rice. Fill a large pot of water with about 6-8 cups of water, 2 tbls. salt, and the rice. Let it soak for 5 hours.

Once the 5 hours has passed, drain the rice and set aside. In the same large pot, add about 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add 2 tbls. of salt and the rice. Bring back to a boil and cook about 5-6 minutes. The rice should be al dente (a little firm to the bite). Drain the rice and rinse quickly with cold water and set aside.

Peel and slice the potato in 1/8″ thick rounds. In the same large pot, add 3/4 cup of the butter or oil (I use half oil, half butter) to the pot. Add 1/2 packet of  Sazón seasoning and let it come to a boil. Now add the sliced potatoes to the pan, making a solid layer on the bottom.


Sprinkle a little salt on top of the potatoes. This layer of potatoes will prevent the rice from sticking and burning. The potatoes will become golden brown and crispy. This is known as Tadig. It is delicious. You will want to serve it along with the rice. You can also use pieces of left over pita bread instead of the potato to make the Tadig.

Now it is time to steam the rice. Spoon the rice into the pot and form a pyramid. Take the handle of a wooden spoon and poke about 5 holes into the rice so that the steam will vent through as it cooks.


Cover the rice with a clean dish towel or dish cloth and place the lid on top of it. Be sure that the towel is not hanging over the sides near the flame. Cook on a medium-high flame for about 15 minutes. This will help to make the potatoes form a crust.

Dissolve 1/4 cup butter into 1 cup of hot water. Add the remainder of the Sazón seasoning and mix well. Drizzle it over the rice, put the dish towel back on along with the lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let cook for about 50 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let cool about 5 minutes. Spoon the rice into a large bowl. The rice will be fluffy and delicious.

Remove the potato crust (Tadig) and set aside on a plate. The crunchy potatoes will be a big hit.