Paleo Shrimp Scampi
Why This Recipe Works
For a paleo version of classic Italian shrimp scampi, we needed to find a creative substitution for the wheat-based pasta while retaining all of the rich garlic and seafood flavors of the original. First, we tested a number of different vegetables to take the place of the pasta. The naturally short strands of roasted and scraped spaghetti squash left tasters desiring something more akin to real pasta. While tasters enjoyed the texture of spiralized butternut squash noodles, we found that the squash’s sweetness overwhelmed the flavor of the shrimp. Tasters preferred long strands of spiralized zucchini; the mild flavor allowed the shrimp and garlic to be the stars of the dish, and the texture closely resembled that of real pasta. Once we settled on the noodles, we set out to perfect the sauce. First we infused our cooking oil with minced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes. We deglazed the pan with clam juice to reinforce the seafood flavor before stirring in chopped parsley. The sauce tasted great, but stirring in the zucchini resulted in a thin and watery sauce as the zucchini released its moisture. By roasting the spiralized zucchini separately, we were able to drive off most of the excess liquid. We also added the garlic-marinated shrimp to the zucchini during the last few minutes of roasting to quickly cook the shrimp through. While roasting rid the zucchini of a good deal of moisture, combining it with the sauce still resulted in a watery mess. Adding arrowroot flour to the sauce before combining it with the noodles created a thicker mixture that coated the noodles and shrimp perfectly. A tablespoon of ghee and a teaspoon of lemon juice gave our scampi its classic, buttery-rich finish.