Chicken Scampi with Lemon Linguine

by Emily Kemme
chicken scampi

Shrimp Scampi falls into the slim category of redundantly named dishes. Brought to America by Italian immigrants, the Old World version of the recipe calls for small crustaceans — langoustines, which are small and lobster-like. The word for “langoustine” in Italian is “scampi”. Shrimp was substituted when langoustines couldn’t be sourced in the states, or they were too expensive for immigrant populations. But the word “scampi” also describes the sauce. If you considered it linguistically, the dish might be called Scampi Scampi.

Instead, toss shrimp out altogether and cook the dish with chicken — hence, Chicken Scampi!

In this recipe, simmer butter, olive oil, white wine, and lemon juice with chopped tomatoes and spinach, diverging slightly from the classic preparation. The quick-cooking sauce remains true to its heritage, resulting in light, lemony mouthfuls. Serve with lemon linguine to make the lemon flavors pop.

Chicken Scampi with Lemon Linguine Recipe


  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling on pasta
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves, coarse stems removed
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, shredded
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces lemon linguine or other linguine
    • Pappardelle’s Pasta sells its Lemon Garlic Linguine in 1 pound packages for $8.00 + shipping. The 36-year old Denver pasta company makes a wide array of flavored, high quality pastas and fresh-frozen sauces. The company’s products are also available at grocery stores.

To cook the recipe:

Cook linguine according to package directions. Drain and drizzle with olive oil to prevent sticking. Cover and set aside until ready to serve.

Place chicken on rack to air dry for 30 minutes, and salt and pepper. Slice into 3/4 inch pieces.

Melt 1/2 stick butter and olive oil together in large skillet over medium low heat. Sauté the garlic for 30 seconds until it becomes fragrant, but isn’t browned. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned and no longer white. Add lemon juice and wine. Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, then toss spinach, basil, and tomatoes into skillet. Stir ingredients to incorporate and cook until vegetables are just wilted. Add remaining butter into skillet and melt it into the sauce, stirring to coat ingredients and thicken sauce. Salt and pepper to taste and serve over linguine in shallow bowls.

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