Southern with an Italian Spin: Garlic Basil Shrimp and Grits

Traditional shrimp and grits hails from the southern coastal region of South Carolina—but this version gives the classic an Italian-inspired twist. Here, shrimp are submerged in a garlic, basil, and cherry tomato sauce, then paired with velvety, cheesy corn grits.

You’ll Need
tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
10″ medium pan
6″ small pot with lid

pint cherry tomatoes
¼ ounce basil, divided
2½ tablespoons unsalted butter
cloves garlic
10 ounces shrimp
¼ cup white wine
cup quick-cooking grits
ounces grated Parmesan cheese
tablespoons mascarpone cheese

Recipe Tips
Cutting butter into smaller pieces increases surface area, making it easier to melt. If you can, transfer the cubes to a small plate and refrigerate until it’s time to finish the grits—this helps the butter emulsify and keeps it from breaking, or separating.

Occasionally whisking the grits prevents clumping. Be sure to return the pot lid after each whisk.

We recommend rinsing the pot from the grits ASAP to make cleanup easier. Cooled grits can be a tough scrub!


Prepare Ingredients:

Cut butter into small cubes (see Recipe Tip). Rinse cherry tomatoes and halve. Rinse basil and roughly chop or tear leaves, discarding stems. Mince garlic.

Sear Shrimp:

Pat shrimp dry with paper towel and season all over with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add shrimp and cook until just pink, 1-2 minutes per side (you’re just getting a sear on the outside here—the shrimp will finish cooking in Step 5). Using a slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to a plate, reserving pan for cooking sauce.

Cook Cherry Tomato Sauce:

Wipe pan from shrimp clean and return to medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. When oil is shimmering, add tomatoes and garlic and cook, pressing tomatoes to release their juices, until very soft, 4-6 minutes. Add white wine and simmer until liquid is reduced by ⅓, 2-3 minutes more. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

Cook Grits:

While sauce cooks, in a small pot, bring 4 cups water to a near-boil over high heat (it should just be lightly bubbling). Whisk in grits and ½ teaspoon salt until smooth. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 5-7 minutes (see Recipe Tip). Remove pot from heat. Whisk in Parmesanmascarpone, and butter cubes to melt. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Cover and set aside.

Finish Shrimp:

Return pan with cherry tomato sauce to medium heat. Once simmering, add cooked shrimp and half of basil. Cook, stirring, until shrimp are opaque and warmed through, 2-3 minutes.

Plate Shrimp and Grits:

Divide grits between serving bowls (see Recipe Tip). Top with shrimp and cherry tomato sauce, and garnish with remaining basil. Dig in!

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