Give your gnocchi the shrimp scampi treatment


By Melissa Clark, The New York Times

You could say that shrimp scampi, like “chai tea,” is a dish so nice they named it twice. But really, it comes down to a mistranslation.

The word “scampi,” in Italian, refers to a type of crustacean that’s similar to a langoustine — resembling a tiny lobster and often sautéed in olive oil with garlic and wine. When immigrants from Italy arrived in the United States in the early 20th century, scampi weren’t widely available, so they made the dish with local shrimp. Shrimp scampi was born.

So, translated, the dish is “shrimp shrimp” (just as chai tea translates to “tea tea”). But words and phrases evolve, and the word “scampi” in the United States now usually refers to the garlicky pan sauce the shrimp are cooked in.

All of this explains why, of the myriad scampi variations that exist, many don’t contain any shrimp at all. (I’m looking at you, chicken, scallop and squash.)

I keep the shrimp in this scampi variation, and they, along with their heady scampi sauce, share the pan with pillows of potato gnocchi.


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