Are we done with spiralized vegetables yet? They might be a distant glimmer, but the zucchini ones make a surprisingly decent substitute for pasta here. They soften and soak up a bit of the garlicky, winy flavors of the sauce yet retain a bit of texture.
What they don't fully absorb is taken in by the panko topping, which we toast briefly in a skillet. (Pale panko takes forever to brown, usually unsuccessfully, on something moist in the oven, so we give it an initial boost.)
We used the pre-cut zucchini noodles sold in the grocery store's refrigerated produce section. If you have your own spiralizer, start with 2 medium zucchini and add a few minutes' prep time to the recipe.
The original dish, from "Modern Comfort Cooking" by Lauren Grier, is called Shrimp Scampi Zucchini Noodle Casserole, but we think this name is more appropriate given its reduced carbs. Leftovers taste great cold.
Shrimp Skimpy Scampi
Yield: 4 servings
1 large or 2 medium shallots 3 cloves garlic Leaves from 6 stems flat-leaf parsley 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 pound peeled deveined, preferably U.S.-caught raw shrimp (defrosted if frozen) 1/2 cup dry white wine 1/2 lemon 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper (spice blend) 1 cup panko (plain dried bread crumbs) 6 cups zucchini noodles (if you spiralize them yourself, use 2 medium zucchini)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or casserole with cooking oil spray.
Cut the shallot(s) into small dice (to yield 1/3 to 1/2 cup). Mince the garlic. Coarsely chop the parsley.
Melt half the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half the oil, then stir in the shallot and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and black pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes, then stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Meanwhile, pull off the shrimp tails, as needed. Season the shrimp with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon each of the salt and black pepper, then add the shrimp to the skillet; cook for 1 minute per side, then pour in the wine and squeeze in 2 tablespoons of juice from the 1/2 lemon into the mix. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp (which will be not quite cooked through) to a mixing bowl.
Once the liquids left in the skillet begin to bubble, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and half the lemon pepper; stir until melted and saucy. Pour over the shrimp in the bowl and return the empty skillet to medium heat; add the panko and cook, stirring, for a few minutes or just until lightly golden. Turn off the heat.
Add the zucchini noodles and parsley to the bowl with the shrimp and toss gently to coat. Pour into the baking dish or casserole and top first with the lightly toasted panko and then sprinkle the remaining lemon pepper over the crumbs. Bake (middle rack) for 10 to 15 minutes, just until bubbling a little at the edges.
Note: Frozen shrimp can be defrosted overnight in the refrigerator. To defrost shrimp quickly, take them out of the bag and place in a colander or strainer. Submerge in cool tap water for about 15 minutes, changing the water once or twice, as needed.
Nutrition information per serving: 430 calories, 26 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 26 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 215 mg cholesterol, 420 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar.
Source: Adapted from "Modern Comfort Cooking: Feel-Good Favorites Made Fresh and New," by Lauren Grier