Creamy Penne W/Shrimp & New Holiday Traditions

Creamy Penne W/Shrimp | Brittany's Pantry Several years ago, when Evelyn was around three, she was sitting with me and watching Giada make this pasta on her Food Network show.  This was not unusual.  She is six now and still watches cooking shows with me; commenting on dishes like a seasoned chef.  But this particular time, she turned to me in her sweet, tiny voice and asked if we could make this particular dish.  I smiled and nodded absent-mindedly.  She asked me when?  When could we make it?  Tonight?  Nope not tonight.  Tomorrow night?  Sure, Evelyn, tomorrow night.

She held me to it and, as it turns out, it was New Years Day.  The pasta was so fantastic, a new holiday tradition was born.  What better way to start the year than with cream, carbs, and good seafood?!  This dish is not particularly involved or difficult, and you can make it in the time it takes you to boil the water and cook the pasta.  This makes it especially convenient if you happen to be doing a bit of weekday entertaining, are pressed for time during the holidays, or really any other time of the year.  It is definitely special enough to serve to your guests.  And let me just say again, this pasta is crazy fantastic.  The flavor is over the top amazing, due to a few key ingredients.  It earns a spot on my blog because it is just the kind of recipe I am always looking for, hence, I would imagine you are too.

I have a lot of cookbooks.  A lot.  Over 80 to be specific.  Yes, I am currently seeking help for my addiction.  Well, when I say seeking help I mean seeking more cookbooks.  My Christmas list doesn’t count, does it…?  Some cookbooks I use almost every week.  Others I pull out once a year.  I have antique cookbooks, mainstream cookbooks, local cookbooks, and specialty cookbooks.  But I don’t cook every single recipe in any of them.  The great thing for you is that I choose the best of the best from those books-and other places, obviously-to share here.  This is one of them. It is reliable, easy, and something you are going to want to make again and again.  And isn’t that the kind of dish we are all looking to add to our repertoire?  I thought so.Creamy Penne W/Shrimp | Brittany's PantryCreamy Penne W/Shrimp | Brittany's Pantry One Year Ago: Filet of Beef The Best Carrot Cake Ever
Two Years Ago: Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins & Hot Chocolate #1

Holiday Pasta (Creamy Penne W/Shrimp)
Adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis
If you haven’t ever used clam juice before, fear not.  I know it sounds weird but it adds a tremendous amount of flavor to this dish.  Do not skip it!  In my grocery store, it is located by the canned tuna and salmon.

1 lb penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
1/4 c olive oil
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 c chopped basil
1/2 c chopped parsley
healthy pinch of red pepper flakes
1 c white wine
1/3 c clam juice
3/4 c heavy cream
1/2 c parmesan

While the pasta cooks, sauté the shrimp in the olive oil with a bit of salt and pepper over medium heat until just barely pink.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate and set aside.  Add the garlic to the pan and let cook for about 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and half the fresh herbs.  Let cook, stirring often until hot and starting to sizzle-about 2 minutes.  Add the wine and let bubble for a full minute, cooking out some of the alcohol.  Add the clam juice and cream.  Bring to a bubble over medium low until reduced by half and is starting to thicken slightly.  Add 1/4 c of the cheese, the rest of the herbs, the shrimp, and the cooked pasta.  Toss and heat together until hot.  Top with the last of the cheese and serve!