Getting My Mac On

52 macs in 52 weeks

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Week 29: Shrimp Scampi Mac

This is the time of year we SHOULD be planning our trip to Red Lobster for their annual “Endless Shrimp” – I’m not kidding when I say my mom, sister, and I look forward to this like a major holiday. (My dad and my other sister don’t care for it, I think my brother is neutral.)

Every year, we plan our attack. Usually a Sunday afternoon when it won’t be as busy, since there are a lot of us. Some people want to time it so they DO have their kids and some people want the opposite. My mom digs out her coupons. It’s a whole thing.

This year, of course, it doesn’t appear to be happening. Stupid COVID. But I’ve seen recipes before for seafood mac, and they usually have a shrimp fettuccine option, and Kat and I always love the shrimp scampi, so I thought I’d see what I could come up with as a replacement.

Shrimp Scampi Mac

Adapted from MasterCook


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, divided
  • 1 pound medium pasta shells
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces shredded Italian cheese blend (see notes)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced


  • Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a small skillet and add the Panko and 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, stirring frequently unless toasted. Set aside.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta approximately 10 minutes. Reserve a cup of pasta water and drain the rest.
  • Heat the half & half over medium heat until it just comes to a simmer and is slightly reduced, and add the cream cheese, stirring until melted. Add the cheese and stir until melted.
  • Melt the remaining butter and stir in garlic and remaining red pepper flakes. Cook approximately 2 minutes, then add shrimp and lemon zest and sauté until shrimp is pink and cooked through.
  • Combine pasta, cheese sauce, and shrimp mixture and stir to combine. Top with butter Panko mixture and serve.


It was fine. It’s not going to replace Red Lobster’s shrimp scampi, but beggars can’t be choosers! Full disclosure, I made this the evening before I went in for major surgery and I haven’t QUITE felt up to eating it in recovery. (That’s also why this post is so late this week.) Nobody else in my family seems interested, so it may not get fully appreciated. Also, it called for white wine in with the shrimp and butter but I didn’t have any on hand and was in a hurry so I skipped it. It might make it a little more scampi-esque.

This could have been 3.5 – I’m doing this on my phone from a recliner at my parents’ house and it came down to which pic I found first …


  • I always harp on not buying pre-shredded cheese, but in this case it makes more sense than trying to assemble all the individual components.
  • I got totally lucky and had bought peeled, deveined, tail off shrimp and didn’t have to do any prep work other than thawing, draining, and chopping. I recommend this approach.

Posted September 23, 2020

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