The History of Shrimp Scampi: From Italy to Beyond

Shrimp scampi is a classic Italian-American dish that has become a beloved favorite worldwide and for a good reason. This dish features succulent shrimp cooked in garlic, butter, white wine, and lemon juice and served over a bed of pasta. However, the origins of this delicious dish are rooted in Italian cuisine, with a history that spans centuries. This month at Tammaro’s Cucina, we’re diving deeper to uncover some history of one of our favorite dishes!


Origins of Shrimp Scampi in Italy

The dish we know as scampi today originates in Italy, specifically in the coastal region of Liguria from the 14th century. However, in the Ligurian dialect, the word “scampi” refers to a small crustacean abundant in the region’s coastal waters. It’s a mix between a mini lobster and shrimp, also known as Norway Lobsters or Dublin Bay Prawns. The dish was initially known as “scampi alla liguria,” and typically featured the local scampi sautéed in olive oil, garlic, and white wine.

As the dish gained popularity in Italy, it began to evolve into various versions and included ingredients like butter, lemon juice, and parsley. This dish was typically served over pasta such as linguine or spaghetti and became a prevalent seafood dish throughout Italy.


Shrimp Scampi Comes to America

In the early 20th century, Italian immigrants brought their love of scampi with them to America. The dish quickly became popular in Italian-American communities, especially in the New York City area. Some of the first recorded mentions of shrimp scampi in America actually date back to the 1920s in Italian-American cookbooks.

As the dish became more mainstream in America, it evolved even further to include new ingredients and flavors. For example, some American versions of shrimp scampi include additional ingredients like breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes. Some American restaurants even serve shrimp scampi with sides such as roasted vegetables or mashed potatoes.


Shrimp Scampi Around the World

Today, shrimp scampi is enjoyed around the world, with each country putting its own unique spin on the classic dish! For example, Japanese shrimp scampi is often served with udon noodles, while the Caribbean version includes coconut milk and other complementary tropical flavors. 

Despite these variations, the core elements of the dish remain the same: succulent shrimp cooked in garlic, butter, white wine, and lemon juice. Whether you enjoy the classic Italian version or a modern variation from around the world, there’s no denying the timeless appeal of shrimp scampi!


Visit Tammaro’s Cucina for the Best Authentic Italian Cuisine

Shrimp scampi may have origins in Italy, but it has since become a beloved favorite worldwide. If you’re eager to try this classic dish along with our other delicious food options, we invite you to check out our online menu. If you’re in need of catering this season for your special events, we also encourage you to view our catering options! We look forward to seeing you!


Follow us on Facebook for the latest updates or call (603) 377-7312 to place an order today!