Monday, June 10, 2019

Shrimp and Garlic Scape Scampi

Shrimp and Garlic Scape Scampi

Shrimp seasoned with garlic scape pesto and parsley then tossed in a wine/butter/lemon sauce and served over pasta.  This is local seasonal eating. The high falutin' way.

Photo of shrimp, garlic scape pesto, and parsley in a wine/butter/lemon sauce over pasta.  Seasonal eating. The high falutin' way.

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You're either here because you've got garlic scapes and want ideas for how to use them, or because you're looking for a different twist on the classic Shrimp Scampi. Either way, let's start with a little background info so that we're all on the same page.

What is a garlic scape?

Garlic grows in a bulb--like a tulip--and produces a flower. Unlike tulips, though, you don't want this flower--so you cut off the scapes while the flower part is still a tight bud. That's a garlic scape. Old Farmers [my Dad] say cutting off the bud forces enables the garlic plant to put all its energy into making a larger base or head or bulb. We're all about bigger bulbs of garlic, right?

image of a garlic scape in a garden bed

Since garlic--again like tulips--ripens but once a year there's only one shot to get garlic scapes each year. If you don't grow your own garlic [and here's a DIY post on planting/harvesting/putting up a year's supply of garlic and pesto from one raised bed] you can find scapes at a farmer's market of from a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share. It is rare to find them in a grocery store which is all the more reason to eat locally--they are a versatile veggie!

Image of a cast iron skillet with shrimp, garlic scape pesto, and parsley in a wine/butter/lemon sauce over pasta.

The requisite Food (Blogger) Origination Story

The first time I made Shrimp Scampi was in high school.  In an effort to save money I decided to make my boyfriend our pre-prom dinner at home. [We went to different high schools and attended two proms--though I have no memory of actually going to his prom . . . perhaps we just ate shrimp scampi at my house instead?].

I got the recipe on a piece of lab paper from Miss Tigani, my high school biology teacher. That scrap of paper hasn't been seen in decades, but the basics of scampi--garlic, butter, parsley, lemon, white wine--stayed with me.  I thought the milder taste of garlic scapes would go nicely for my family.
See, while I would love me some garlic shrimp from the white shrimp truck on the North Shore of Oahu, I know that the resulting 3 days of garlic oozing from my pores would not be appreciated by my spouse.  So I'll stay on the mainland and create this instead.

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Shrimp, garlic scape pesto, and parsley in a wine/butter/lemon sauce over pasta.  Seasonal eating. The high falutin' way.

For more recipes using garlic scapes, please see my Garlic and Garlic Scapes Recipe Collection. For more recipes using herbs, please see my Recipes Using Herbs Collection. These collections are part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from the farm share, the farmer's market, the garden, the neighbor's garden, and great deals on ugly produce at the grocery store.

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photo of the ingredients needed to make Shrimp and Garlic Scape Scampi

Recipe Notes

  • Start the pasta water first if you don't have cooked noodles standing by.
  • I used a batch of garlic scape pesto that had sunflower seeds for the 'nut' and parsley for the leaf.  It worked very well in this dish. I've since remade this garlic scape shrimp scampi using my beloved Garlic Scape Pistachio Pesto. I like both versions.
  • This recipe would be yummy with the addition of feta cheese, capers, some crusty bread, and a salad.

photo of shrimp, garlic scape pesto, and parsley in a wine/butter/lemon sauce over pasta.

image of a plate of shrimp scampi over thin spaghetti noodles seasoned with garlic scape pesto

Originally posted in 2014. Updated in 2019 because I forgot to include the amount of shrimp in the ingredients!


  1. Sounds good to me, seasonal eating at its best.

    1. Caroline.
      I think that's the nicest part about seasonal eating--I always have something new to look forward to, some familiar flavor coming 'round the bend to anticipate.

  2. Kirsten, this sounds awesome (and I totally hear you on the North Shore shrimp--so good, but sooo garlickiy). This looks like the perfect middle ground :)

    1. Amy,
      I'm glad I'm not alone in my love for North Shore Shrimp trucks. Ah, yum!

  3. What do garlic scapees and Eminem have in common? Answer: this post. I love that you threw him in there. That was bad ass. I also loved that you are basically having garlic scape week. It makes my heart skip a beat with delight. I'm dreaming right now of my frozen garlic scape pesto and how I can make it into a pasta dish. Oh and I ate Ramp Pesto for dinner last night, and I can guarantee it will be coming out of my pores in tomorrow's yoga class. I feel for those poor people who end up near me.

    1. Meghan,
      The man's a poet. Misogynistic, sure, but a wordsmith like few others. I appreciate his craft, even if I don't like his message.
      I really need to find ramps--better your pores than . . .
      Well, thanks my dear for your lovely comment!

  4. Mmmmm, I LOVE shrimp scampi and I haven't had it in over a year since I ordered it at a restaurant and they overcooked my shrimp. I need to make it at home to heal from that experience, right? Right! :)

    1. Julie,
      You simply must replace that bad scampi experience with a good one--you've got the skills to do so.

  5. It was delicious even though I had to substitute a few things for the pesto! I substituted pastachios with pine nuts and I didn't have fresh basil but I had basil olive oil. It's a yummy recipe! How do I give you 5 stars?