Give Your Gnocchi the Shrimp Scampi Treatment || Tapioca tea | Boba Tea in Cypress TX, Bubble Tea in Cypress TX – Tea Bear Teahouse

Give Your Gnocchi the Shrimp Scampi Treatment

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.

The gnocchi serve several purposes here. They round out the dish, giving it heft. They absorb the glorious pan sauce, eliminating the need for bread or spaghetti. And, because they’re browned in the skillet before the shrimp are incorporated, they add a chewy-crisp texture that goes nicely with the juicy springiness of the shrimp.

You can use any premade potato gnocchi here — shelf-stable, frozen (and thawed) or refrigerated. Then, you can just toss them in the pan with some oil and let them sear until they turn bronze in spots and mostly tender within.

I say “mostly tender” because the thing about prepared potato gnocchi (as opposed to fluffier homemade versions) is that they always stay a bit dense and pliable in the center. To me, a person who adores springy matzo balls, bouncy mochi and the elasticity of the tapioca pearls in bubble tea, this is vastly appealing and the point of the dish. Light and airy, these are not.

But if you like a touch of chewiness, these deeply flavorful, garlicky dumplings and succulent shrimp, bathed in a buttery scampi sauce, are pleasing to eat and simple to make — a one-pan meal in under 30 minutes.

A dish that’s half the work for double the flavor is worth saying twice, don’t you think?

Recipe: One-Pan Shrimp Scampi With Crispy Gnocchi

Give Your Gnocchi the Shrimp Scampi Treatment

Take the classic over the top by tossing in crisp, bouncy potato gnocchi, Melissa Clark writes.

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