Okay, so it was spaghetti with shrimp scampi…but I have to tell you it was exceptional spaghetti and it made the dish especially mouthwatering.

This is one of our weekday standbys. I keep cleaned, top-quality IQF Texas Toros in the freezer, so the dish takes less than half an hour from start to finish, and it’s a cinch to pull together on late Little League nights or when I’m not in the mood to make anything complicated. I usually have the rest of the ingredients on hand in the fridge and pantry ““ pasta, garlic, butter, lemons, olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper ““ so it’s often a last-minute dish for us. I even change it up from time to time ““ if I’m not in a garlicky mood, I sometimes mellow the dish with shallots and use fresh tarragon instead of parsley. Without doubling, the recipe feeds my crew, sometimes even with leftovers, which heat fairly nicely for lunch the next day (in a pan ““ not in the microwave!)

I’ve always been a believer that excellent shrimp make this dish, but the pasta sure makes a tasty difference too. I discovered this spaghetti last spring on a recommendation, although I was doubtful it could be measurably better than De Cecco, my favorite supermarket brand. I was, quite simply, blown away. There’s a roughness to the pasta that give it a toothy texture rather than typical slipperiness. Sauces cling to the nutty-tasting hard durum noodles, and although I use it only occasionally because of the extravagance, I find it can transform a dish.

The most time consuming part of the recipe is mincing the garlic (which I do in the food processor) and juicing and zesting the lemons. The cool thing is that the whole dish then comes together in the time it takes the pasta to cook, making a multi-tasker like me particularly gleeful. In fact I remember trying to stifle a giggle when a friend was so impressed that shrimp scampi was one of our go-to weekday meals. But now…sighhhhhh…my secret’s out!

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