Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Penne with Shrimp and Herbed Cream Sauce

Hello world! Miss me? Just say yes. :)

Can you believe Christmas is 17 days away?!?!? Wow! This is the time of year for holiday parties, get-togethers, dinners at various family members' homes, and all out festivities. Now is the time of year to throw the diet out the window and be happy.

Well, it shouldn't be that time of year, but who says I can't try and make myself feel better?

I've been wanting to make this dish for a LONG time but there's always been that one ingredient that's made me leery...clam juice. Eww. I didn't know if I could bring myself to make a wonderful pasta dish and then ruin it with clam juice. Nothing against clams, I'm sure they're lovely. It's just not my cup of tea.

However, I saw this on Food Network over the weekend and I just had to try the dish. I had to have it and have been thinking about it since Sunday morning. So I went to the grocery store after work Monday night and was all prepared to be adventurous. Then fate stepped in and my store was out of clam juice. Darn. So I made it without it. Honestly, I don't feel like it needs the clam juice, so I will continue to be stubborn and leave that pesky ingredient out. Feel free to try the recipe with the clam juice and let me know how it tastes.

Penne with Shrimp and Herbed Cream Sauce
Source: Giada

1 pound penne pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, and deveined
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained, roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup white wine
1/3 cup clam juice (Or if you're a wuss like me, leave it out)
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until the shrimp turn pink and is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp and set aside.

Add the tomatoes, 1/4 cup basil, 1/4 cup parsley, and the red pepper flakes. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the wine, clam juice (if using), and heavy cream. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, the cooked shrimp, the cooked pasta, and the remaining herbs. Toss together until all ingredients are coated. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. The sauce will still be runny, but it will thicken as it stands.

Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve immediately.

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