Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Penne a la Betsy

Also known as creamy pasta with shrimp that will blow your socks off - adapted from The Pioneer Woman. I added a little cayenne pepper (turning out to be my new favorite spice) to the pasta.  It gave it a little kick, which I found perfect with the shrimp.  Plus, it's pretty!  Obviously taking pictures of pretty food is a blast, but for some reason every time I cook with shrimp I say out loud "shrimp photographs so well."  Shrimp is like the Gisele Bundchen of food. 
Peel and rinse shrimp under cool water.  Heat about 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil in a skillet.  Add shrimp and cook for a couple minutes until just opaque, do not overcook.  Remove from heat, and let cool for a few minutes.  Put the shrimp on a cutting board, remove tails and cut into bite size pieces.
I cut the recipe in half, and it turned out to be exactly three servings.  C and I had it for dinner, and then a couple nights later I had the leftovers.  As per usual, I didn't cut the garlic in half.  Chop up half of an onion, and garlic cloves. Also, start cooking penne pasta in a bowl with salted water.  Cook until tender-firm.
In a large skillet heat two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of oil.  Add the garlic and onion and saute, stirring occasionally.  After they've cooked for a bit add white wine.  Let evaporate for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.  Instead of wine I used low-sodium chicken broth.
Add an 8oz. can of plain tomato sauce.  Stir until well combined.  Then add heavy cream and continue stirring.  Turn heat down to low and let simmer.
Chop your herbs, parsley and basil.  Add herbs and spices to the sauce, I used cayenne spice, but you can add anything you like.
Add your chopped shrimp back to the cream sauce.  Give it a stir and add salt and pepper to taste.  Finally add your cooked penne and stir until pasta is coated with the sauce.
The final result was creamy, with a bit of spicy on the side.  I'm not usually a big fan of shrimp in pasta, but it was perfect with the sauce.  Mix between cream and tomato, with a little kick from the cayenne.  I will be making this again for sure!   

Penne a la Betsy
3/4 pounds penne pasta
1 pound shrimp
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup white wine, or chicken broth
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper *optional
fresh parsley
fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste

Cook penne pasta until tender firm in a large pot with salted water.  Drain pasta.
Peel and rinse extra large shrimp. 
Heat about one tablespoon of butter and olive oil in a skillet.
Add the shrimp and cook for a couple minutes, until just opaque.
Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
Put shrimp on a cutting board and pull of tails, then cut into bite size pieces and set aside.
Finely dice onion and mince garlic cloves.
In a large skillet heat two tablespoons butter and olive oil. 
Add garlic and onion and saute, stirring occasionally.
After garlic and onions have cooked for a bit, add white wine.
Let the wine evaporate for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add tomato sauce, stir until well combined.
Add heavy cream, and continue stirring.
Turn heat down to low and let simmer.
Chop herbs and add to sauce, along with any additional spices you like.
Now add your shrimp into the cream sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.
Add your cooked pasta, and stir until pasta is coated with sauce.

Eat up! :)


  1. I usually don't use wine in my pasta sauces either (except on special occasions) - that comes from my family the wine was usually reserved for drinking. That's made me be a little creative- I like to use a splash or two of balsamic instead- the strong flavor means I don't have to use much and it makes my sauces feel a little different. If I was making shrimp like this, I'd consider making a fish stock using the shrimp shells in place of the chicken stock. The dish looks great- I may have to borrow the idea at some point!

  2. The fish stalk is a good idea! The main reason I didn't use wine was because I didn't have any white. I usually only drink red :) Thank you for that idea though, I'm sure I'll be using it sometime soon!

  3. beautifully done. yum