A quick and easy skillet meal with tender chicken scampi over perfectly cooked buttery, garlic parmesan rice.
Did you know that scampi is an actual thing? I didn’t! I was doing a little research before I wrote this recipe post and learned that scampi isn’t merely a way of cooking garlicy shrimp but it’s actually the original crustacean used in the popular dish (hence the name)!
Scampi, which is actually the Italian plural of scampo, are very small lobsters also called Dublin Bay Prawns or Norway Lobster found in the Mediterranean and northeastern Atlantic from North Africa to Norway and Iceland.
Scampi were most often prepared in Italy by sautéing them with olive oil, garlic and white wine. Italian immigrants in America substituted shrimp in place of the scampi but kept the “scampi” name and cooking method which morphed over the years into the common menu item we’re familiar with: shrimp scampi.
Fascinating stuff, folks. Fascinating!
American cooks and restaurants have used the scampi method of cooking (again, we took this from an ingredient to a cooking style) for shrimp, lobster, crawfish and even chicken. The Olive Garden restaurant’s Chicken Scampi is one of their most popular menu items.
Which is actually what lead me to making this dish. I usually make this (or something almost exactly like it, though I’d never written down an actual recipe) with shrimp. Since not everyone loves shrimp, I decided to use chicken in this recipe so that more of you could enjoy it.
You can absolutely use this recipe to make this with shrimp too, by the way. Cook everything exactly the same way but maybe use a shrimp stock instead of chicken broth if you have it. You can simmer your shrimp shells and tails in the chicken broth for a bit to totally max out the flavor too.
It’s weird but my entire family agrees that the rice in this dish tastes a lot like, and has the same texture of the rice at our favorite Japanese restaurant. The only thing I can figure is that our hibachi hotspot uses sake in their rice so the white wine in my recipe must accomplish the same with the rice.
This is extra good news to me because my baby boy (who turned THIRTEEN this weekend – God help us, we have three teenagers now!) has become so incredibly picky but he loves rice and he especially loves the rice at our favorite Japanese restaurant so he’s 100% on board with this dish simply because of the rice!
If the rice doesn’t convince you to use the wine in this recipe, just trust me when I tell you it makes the overall dish.
Any time I use wine in a recipe I get dozens of comments and emails from folks asking what to substitute for it (no matter how much I try to convince you otherwise) and also questions about what kind of wine to use so I made some notes below.
WHAT CAN I SUBSTITUTE FOR WHITE WINE IN THIS RECIPE?
I really, really don’t think you should substitute anything but a good substitute for this (and most) recipes for white wine is 1 part lemon juice to 7 parts chicken broth.
To save yourself from measuring that out, add lemon juice to a measuring pitcher or measuring cup (pitchers are more accurate for liquid measuring) then add chicken broth to the desired level per the following:
1 cup = 2 TBSP lemon juice + broth1/2 cup = 1 TBSP lemon juice + broth1/4 cup = 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice + broth
WHAT TYPE OF WHITE WINE IS BEST FOR COOKING?
Always use a dry white wine, such as chardonnay, pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc for recipes and cooking. Don’t use sweet wines such as mostcato or white zinfandel.
Don’t use a “cooking wine”. The saying that you shouldn’t cook with wine that’s not good enough to drink is great advice, but you don’t need to break the bank either. I usually spend about 10 bucks a bottle for the wine I keep around.
If you don’t drink wine, consider buying a 4-pack of mini bottles. Use one for your recipe then save the remaining bottles for future recipes or give them away to friends.
NOTES ABOUT THIS RECIPE:
- Definitely use FRESH minced garlic in this recipe. The stuff in the jar just isn’t the same.
- Feel free to use shrimp instead of chicken!
- Since folks often ask, I don’t use any particular brand or variety of wine. I most often use chardonnay because that’s what I tend to have but pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc are great too.
- Don’t use a “cooking wine” in this recipe.
- I really don’t think you should substitute anything for the white wine but if you must, combine 1 tablespoon lemon juice with additional chicken broth to measure 1/2 cup.
PREP TIME: 10 MCOOK TIME: 35 MTOTAL TIME: 45 MA quick and easy skillet meal with tender chicken scampi over perfectly cooked buttery, garlic parmesan rice.
- 1 lb. chicken tenderloins
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic*
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
- Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste and garlic powder. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Sauté chicken tenderloins until nicely browned and just cooked through. Remove chicken from skillet, cover chicken then set aside.
- Add butter, garlic, pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the skillet then sauté garlic for 3 minutes (do not let the garlic burn or become too brown).
- Increase skillet temperature to medium-high then add white wine. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to emulsify the wine into the butter. Cook and stir for approximately 5 minutes or until mixture is reduced by half. Remove and set aside 2 tablespoons of pan sauce to use later.
- Add rice to skillet with remaining butter sauce then stir and cook for 3-4 minutes or until rice starts to brown just a little. Add chicken broth and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring mixture to a low boil then reduce heat to medium-low, cover pan then cook for 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir once or twice the first 15 minutes of cooking but not more than that.
- Sprinkle parmesan over rice then arrange chicken tenders in skillet over rice. Drizzle reserved 2 tablespoons of pan sauce over chicken tenders. Cover, remove from heat then let stand for 5 minutes. Garnish dish with more parmesan and chopped fresh parsley if desired.
Definitely use FRESH minced garlic in this recipe. The stuff in the jar just isn’t the same.
I really don’t think you should substitute anything for the white wine but if you must, combine 1 tablespoon lemon juice with additional chicken broth to measure 1/2 cup.
Feel free to use shrimp instead of chicken!
I don’t know if this can be made with Minute rice or brown rice because I’ve never cooked either type of rice.
I don’t know how this could be converted to a slow cooker recipe.
Since folks often ask, I don’t use any particular brand or variety of wine. I most often use chardonnay because that’s what I tend to have but pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc are great too.
Don’t use a “cooking wine” (the saying that you shouldn’t cook with wine that’s not good enough to drink is great advice) but you don’t need to break the bank either. I usually spend about 10 bucks a bottle for the wine I keep around. If you don’t drink wine, consider buying a 4-pack of mini bottles (save the remaining bottles for future recipes or give them away to friends).