Friday, March 9, 2012

PW Recipe: Penne a la Betsy

Penne a la Betsy

Verdict:  Simple, delicious.  Even the kiddos ate it. 
Cook it Again:   Yes.
Cost Factor:  Shrimp (on sale at Costco), pasta, heavy cream.  Fresh herbs.  $18ish total if you have to buy everything.

So, it's Friday.  It's Lent.  As much as I've been thinking I wanted to cook this, I purposely waited -- because as I have shared in the past, Fridays in Lent mean I forget every possible meatless meal I've ever had and can think only of pizza and tuna fish.  (And bacon cheeseburgers.  Why do I always (and only) want hamburgers on Fridays?)

Sure enough, we had pizza for lunch.

(And I may or may not have had a cold, delicious slice while I was cooking dinner ... but I'm not sayin' and you can't prove it.)

Let's talk about this Penne a la Betsy.

First, the recipe calls for one pound of shrimp.  Problem:  Kirkland frozen shrimp was on sale at Costco yesterday, and it comes in 2-pound bags.  Oh, dear.  Looks like we have to double the shrimp in this recipe. Tragic.

Second, it's a one-potter, plus a pot for the pasta.  I like this.

Third, it starts out a heckofalot like a scampi.  Butter and cook up the shrimp.  It also calls for wine, but dang it, I don't keep white wine in the house and completely freaking forgot about the wine when I was at Publix earlier.  I need to buy a few bottles of white wine just to cook with.  Then, I need to hide it from myself so it sticks around for me to cook with.  Ugh.


When the shrimp looks like this,

remove the shrimp from the pan and add more butter.  Cook the onions and then throw in the garlic.  Oops. We added an extra clove. 

In the beginning, this was my help:

[There was a picture of Mick sitting on the couch watching tv, but he asked me to remove it.  He's sensitive like that.]

Because this was on tv:

NCIS, and we've been doing our own marathon for three days now.    Yes, that is a pretty little basket of Curious George dvds.  You know you're jealous.

And CAM couldn't help because she insisted she was cold, and even went about proving her point by getting ready for an interior snowstorm.

But then this:


started smelling good, and we had to take the tails off the shrimp and cut them in half, and we may or may not have eaten half the shrimp (see, the recipe is back on track after all, kids!  Two pounds, back down to one!) and Mick got up to help. Because, as I said, the butter-shrimp-onions-garlic-deliciousness suddenly smelled awfully good and also because he doesn't like when I use big knives.  Even though I use them all the time when he's not around and he is the only one of the two of us who's almost cut off his finger. Twice.  But still, he fears for my fingers.  So he cuts.  It's pretty chivalric, if you think about it. 

So to the onion-garlic mixture, you add one cup of heavy cream and a can of tomato sauce and let it simmer. 

Then you add the pasta and what should have been 1/4 cup fresh, chopped parsley and a handful of fresh, chopped basil leaves.  Well, that's what you would have added, if you hadn't thought you bought them when you didn't, and debated with yourself whether you left the bag at the store somehow, or if you're just remembering buying them a few weeks ago, because now that you think about it, that image in your head is of Kroger, but you only went to Publix this week, and, well, did you buy the herbs last week?  That would have been really early ...  So maybe you are imagining the ones from a few weeks ago, after all.  You know, the ones you just threw out because they got all yucky in the fridge, and either way, instead you had to use the dried stuff from the pantry in tonight's meal.


It was truly delicious, we all loved it, it was quick and easy -- really, very much like a scampi -- we will definitely make it again, and I wish I knew how to take better food photos.   And had some white wine to go with this.  That would have been really great.



  1. Oh, we would handle extra shrimp too! Just curious if you had leftovers and if they warmed up ok? Looks like it makes a lot and was thinking of making half the recipe if the leftovers are not as good as the fresh dish.

    1. We had a fair amount of leftovers -- enough for at least two additional heaping servings -- and they did reheat well. Mick threw them in the microwave and ate them without complaint; I would have re-heated them with a little more milk in a skillet, but I stole a bite of his and it was fine. And for what it's worth, Mick said he wouldn't make it with any less shrimp. We cooked two pounds and snacked but still well more than one pound made it to the meal, and it was just perfect. :)