Ina Garten's Seasoning Tip For More Flavorful Shrimp Scampi

Ina Garten, aka the Barefoot Contessa, is the queen of East Coast living, from her chic barn kitchen to her sprawling East Hampton estate (via People). And while she can provide expert advice for cooking plenty of foods, she has particular expertise with shrimp, which can be found from mid-spring to early winter in the Atlantic Ocean. Garten has whipped up recipes for everything from shrimp and swordfish curry to roasted shrimp cocktail to grilled herb shrimp, according to Barefoot Contessa, all of which are meant for beginners to be able to cook.

But one of the Contessa's standout shrimp dishes — which has garnered almost 2 million views to date on YouTube — is her recipe for linguine with shrimp scampi. Garten makes shrimp scampi on its own as well in a recipe she shared with the Food Network, where she uses lemon zest, parsley, rosemary, and red pepper flakes to give the shrimp an array of flavors. In her hit recipe for shrimp scampi linguine, however, Garten especially emphasizes the importance of two basic seasonings.

Bring on the salt and pepper

A typical shrimp linguine recipe uses garlic, salt, and pepper to season the shrimp, with a little added lemon juice or zest, herbs, and red pepper flakes (via Tastes Better From Scratch). While Ina Garten's Food Network recipe pretty much sticks to these seasonings as well, she advises using more salt and pepper than you would normally when cooking the shrimp. The reason for the additional seasoning is that the shrimp has to do a little extra legwork when paired with pasta.

"You want it to have lots of flavor, because when you add the pasta, the sauce has to flavor the pasta also," Garten explained, "so it has to be really strongly flavored." Her recipe calls for one tablespoon of kosher salt, "plus one and a half teaspoons."

Of course, if extra spices aren't your style, other recipes recommend going with a more delicate noodle than linguine, like angel hair or spaghetti (via Allrecipes). In addition, liquid ingredients like lemon juice, white wine, and plenty of melted butter are staples in shrimp linguine recipes to create as much sauce as possible for the pasta and flavor it through sheer volume (via Homemade Hooplah). To amp up the flavor even more, other recipes call for even more garlic or red pepper flakes; MyRecipes' shrimp scampi linguine uses six cloves of garlic, for example, and our spicy shrimp scampi recommends adding more pepper to taste. But however you season your scampi, take a note from Ina Garten, and don't skimp on the salt and pepper — your taste buds will thank you!