Limoncello Shrimp and Cous Cous

18 Jul

Scampi-style shrimp with mushrooms and Limoncello sauce over a bed of couscous

I make my own limoncello and am always looking for interesting ways to use it. Years ago I cut this recipe out of the circular for our local grocery store, Basha’s. Credit should go to David Larsen of Scottsdale who won a contest with this recipe. I’ve scoured the internet and didn’t find anything else like it.

I was originally fearful that the combination of lemon zest, lemon juice and Limoncello was going to be overpowering. Cooking the Limoncello actually burns off the alcohol which mellows out the flavor. In fact, I was underwhelmed by the flavors in general. I did skip the “flaming” option in lieu of not burning my fingers which may have made a difference. The dish, as published, was a little bland so I made some adjustments.


  • 1 1/3 cups dried couscous
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can mixed vegetables, drained and rinsed
  • 1 quarter cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 pound shrimp, deshelled with tail off
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of mushrooms (I prefer baby bellas)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup Limoncello or vodka
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Parmesan cheese


  1. Bring the water to boil in a medium pan. Stir in the couscous, mixed veggies and cilantro. Bring back to a boil. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  2. Remove the shells and tails from the shrimp. Place in a large bowl, sprinkle with flour and toss to coat. Set aside.
  3. Heat butter in a large non-stick frying pan. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms. Saute for several minutes until the vegetables are soft.
  4. Add the shrimp and stir to combine. Cook for about 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the lemon zest and Limoncello or vodka.
  6. Stir in the lemon juice, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer several minutes until the sauce thickens slightly and the shrimp is cooked/heated through.
  7. Place the couscous on a platter and spoon the shrimp and sauce in the middle. Sprinkle with aged cheese. Garnish with additional cilantro and lemon wedges, if desired.

Kat’s tip: Because shrimp cooks up fairly quickly, you can use raw shrimp or pre-cooked shrimp with equal results. If using frozen, it should be thawed first.

Kat’s second tip: If you’re really daring you can try flaming the shrimp after you pour the Limoncello in the pan; this will burn off the alcohol and leave with you a pleasantly sweet lemon flavor. I didn’t do this because I couldn’t find my grill lighter and I was afraid of burning my fingers using a regular Bic lighter. If you opt to flame the shrimp, remove the pan from the heat. Carefully light the pan to flame the shrimp and wait until the flame has burned out before returning the pan to heat. Make sure there is nothing above or around the pan that could catch fire.

Serves four

Nutritional information – values per serving are approximate:

Calories 471.9 Total Fat 8.6g Cholesterol 209.9mg Sodium 544.6mg Potassium 631.9mg Total Carbohydrate 61.9g  Protein 32.5g

Inspiration: Basha’s Fresh is Best circa 2007 – my compliments to David Larsen of Scottsdale

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Posted by on July 18, 2011 in Adult beverages, Grains


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