Jumbo Shrimp Buzara Style From Lidia's Italy

Armen Hareyan's picture
Appetizer Jumbo Shrimp Recipe

Shrimp alla buzara is common all around the north Adriatic coast. When I make this quick and delicious healthy recipe at our house, I give everyone an empty bowl for the shells. I bring the pan to the table, we roll up our sleeves and dig in, savoring the sweet meat, then sucking and licking every drop of sauce from the shells. All that’s needed is some grilled bread.

If you wish, use smaller, inexpensive shrimp (shelled and cleaned) in the recipe to make a terrific dressing for spaghetti or linguini. And leftovers make a great risotto.

This Jumbo Shrimp Buzara Recipe Serves 6 People

24 large raw shrimp, 1 ounce apiece (U- 16 size )
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or more
3 plump garlic cloves finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup white wine
1 cup of water
Freshly ground black pepper or to taste
1 tablespoon bread crumbs or more if needed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Recommended equipment:
• A heavy-bottomed sauté pan, 10- to 12-inches diameter, for the sauce
• A heavy-bottomed 13- to 14-inch skillet for searing the shrimp


Without removing any of the shell, remove the vein (digestive tract) that runs inside the curving back of each shrimp: Slice open the back with a sturdy sharp paring knife, cutting through the shell, and scrape out the vein. Rinse the shrimp and pat dry.

Pour ¼ cup of the olive oil in the sauté pan and set over medium-high heat. Scatter in the garlic, cook until sizzling, then stir in the shallots. When they’re sizzling, stir in ¼ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ cup of the wine. Cook, stirring frequently, until the wine is nearly completely evaporated and the shallots have softened. Drop in the tomato paste and stir it around the pan for a minute, coating the shallots and caramelizing.

Pour in the rest of the wine, bring to the boil quickly, then add the water and ¼ teaspoon salt, stirring. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the sauce bubble gently and reduce for about 5 minutes while you sear the shrimp.
Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the wide skillet and set over high heat until very hot. Scatter the shrimp in the pan, toss them in the oil and season with ½ teaspoon salt. Cook for just a minute or slightly longer, until the shells are lightly colored and the flesh underneath is opaque, then turn off the heat.

With the sauce still bubbling, slide in the seared shrimp and tumble to coat them all with sauce. Stir in the coarsely ground pepper, then the tablespoon bread crumbs - use more crumbs if the sauce is thin. Cook for another 2 minutes then turn off the heat.

Drizzle over the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil - or more to taste - and incorporate it well, tumbling the shrimp in the pan. Sprinkle the parsley on top and serve immediately.

This recipe and others like it can be found in Lidia Bastianich's book, Lidia’s Italy, Alfred A. Knopf 2007. Here is how to order your own copy.