Shrimp to Get Your Hands Deliciously Dirty

by Catherine Smart
Tuesday, Nov 29, 2016

Gutsy, garlicky shrimp in a white wine sauce will bring everyone to the table.

The queen of Italian cooking knows that simple, fresh ingredients are the building blocks of most delicious meals. In this dish—typical of her native Adriatic Coast—Bastianich shows us how to cook shrimp with their shells on, a trick for infusing garlicky white wine sauce with even more sparkling seafood flavor. Seat guests elbow-to-elbow, pass what's left of the cooking wine at the table and set out a bowl for everyone to in toss their shells. This is communal dining at its very best.


  • 2 pounds jumbo shrimp (10 to 12 per pound)
  • 1 cup fish stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley



Using poultry shears or a sharp paring knife, cut through the outer curve of the shrimp shells from end to end, but don’t remove the shells. Rinse the shrimp under cold running water and de-vein. Warm the stock in a small saucepan, and stir in the tomato paste till it dissolves.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the stock-and-tomato-paste mixture, reduce the heat, and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Remove garlic when done.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the shrimp and sear (in two batches), 1 minute on each side. Drain off the oil, return all the shrimp to the skillet and add the sauce. Cover and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and parsley, mix well, and cook a minute longer, uncovered. Serve immediately.

Recipe provided by Lidia Bastianich.

About the Author

Craving Boston's Catherine grew up in a family that cooked, gardened, canned and tapped trees to make maple syrup, so you could say New England cuisine is in her blood.

After graduating from the University of New Hampshire in 2007, she moved to the Boston area to pursue a culinary certificate and MLA in gastronomy at Boston University. While working toward her degree Catherine fell in love with the Boston food scene, started a personal chef business, The Pocket Garden, and became a regular contributor to The Boston Globe food section.

When Catherine isn’t cooking for personal chef clients or freelancing for various food publications, she enjoys yoga, travel, gardening, and spending time with her friends and family. Catherine and her husband Artie are proud Somervillians, living in Union Square with their black lab Scout, and two cats, Lily and Oliver.


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