Copycat Olive Garden Shrimp Scampi just like the restaurant favorite to enjoy at home!
A thin pasta is tossed with bell peppers and onion in a lemon garlic scampi sauce and topped with shrimp.
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I really love finding restaurant dishes that I love and trying to recreate them at home as close as I can, especially with Copycat Olive Garden recipes.
But I want it to be pretty darn close to the restaurant dish, and this shrimp scampi recipe is!
I have been wanting to find and make a great scampi sauce for quite some time now.
But all of the recipes I tried and all of the variations I came up with were missing something.
There would be too much lemon, not enough butter, etc, and so I started a quest to find a perfect balance.
And the Olive Garden Shrimp Scampi was the recipe that I kept thinking back to.
How close is this Copycat Olive Garden Shrimp Scampi to the real thing?
I played around with trying to create the Copycat Olive Garden Shrimp Scampi recipe for a while.
There are so many sauce variations out there: cream or no cream? Lemon or no lemon? Wine? Thicken with flour?
But ultimately this is the version I landed on and when I tried it side by side with the real thing via takeout, WOW. It is pretty darn close.
I also made Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Scampi which includes a copycat Olive Garden chicken that they serve in house with that thin coating.
Now Olive Garden used to serve shrimp scampi with the vegetables I have listed here, which are the same as the chicken. Bell peppers and red onion.
But it looks like now they are using asparagus and tomato. So use whichever vegetable mixture you prefer!
Use more or less of the vegetables and shrimp as you prefer to make it your own!
I love to double up on the vegetables and reduce the pasta to one pound for a vegetable forward meal.
Shrimp does not reheat well because it gets rubbery when overcooked, so I recommend cooking shrimp as you need it for leftovers (if there are any!).
- Large pot
- Cutting board
- Heat a large pot of water over high heat until boiling. Salt the water to your preference and add the pasta. Cook until just shy of al dente (the pasta will finish cooking in the sauce later). Save 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and set aside.
Make the Scampi Sauce
- While the water is heating, make your sauce. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 Tablespoons of butter until melted.
- Add the onion and garlic to the butter and cook until just soft but not brown, approximately 3 minutes.
- Add the white wine and simmer to burn off some of the alcohol and reduce 2 minutes. Scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pot while simmering.
- Add the chicken stock, lemon juice, parsley, and crushed red pepper. Simmer 5 minutes.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in the remaining 8 Tablespoons (1/4 stick) of butter until incorporated. Set aside.
Vegetables and Assembly
- Put the large pot from the pasta back on the stove (or a new large pot - but one less thing to clean!). Add 1 Tablespoon of oil and heat over medium heat.
- Once hot, add the peppers and onion and cook until just beginning to soften, approximately 3-5 minutes.
- Add the sauce into the pot with the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp are cooked through (time will vary with size). They are done when they are pink, starting to curl, and looks white not gray along the back (side edge). Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add the pasta to the pot (see note). Gently toss to coat and combine (be very gentle to help prevent the pasta from breaking - once the pasta meets the warm sauce, it will start to loosen up and unstick). Use the pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce and make it saucier as desired.
- Serve the pasta in one large dish or as individual portions.