Simple Dinner: Shrimp Penne Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce

I LOVE to cook.  Maybe it’s being from the south, maybe it is family heritage.  Whatever it is, I love to cook.  Eating dinner at home is one of those BEST things for my family.  It is a priority.  And, contrary to popular belief, it is possible.   My kids are not hermits.  We engage in extra curricula activity.  We attend church.  My husband and I both manage small businesses, I home school, we have friends and yet, we manage to eat at home together 4-6 nights per week.  Top it off, we NEVER eat chicken nuggets at home.  I don’t mean that to be haughty.  Again, it is a choice we as parents make.  Are my kids exposed to enough of that outside of our home?  If so, then I am going to minimize it in our home.  Now, lest you think it is a made from scratch meal every night, please know there is an occasional pizza or Chinese take out, and on occasion a Stouffer’s frozen lasagna or Chicken and Rice.  As with all things, each of us can do and will do what we determine we desire to do in the time we are given.  With a little Sunday night planning, bi-weekly or monthly grocery shopping, and use of pre-set oven or Crockpot, there are actually a lot of simple, quick menus to prepare.  One of my staples and family favorites is Shrimp Penne.

Finished Shrimp Penne with Creamy Garlic Sauce
Finished Shrimp Penne with Creamy Garlic Sauce
Creamy Garlic Sauce simmering
Creamy Garlic Sauce simmering

Cook the Penne according to recipe.   Begin by sauteing 2 lb of pealed shrimp in olive oil and 2 tbsp of minced garlic.  Add 2 cups of heavy whipping cream to the cooked shrimp.  Stir in 1/8 cup of chicken broth, 1 tsp basil, 1/2 tsp rosemary, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp oregano.  Add salt and ground pepper to taste.  Stir and let simmer.  Last, but not least, stir in one cup of shredded Parmesan.  Let the Parmesan melt completely.  If the sauce has gotten too thick, add a little more chicken broth or some butter.  Dump the cooked and drained Penne into the sauce.  Fold (do not stir aggressively) the Penne into the sauce.  Let the mixture simmer on low (cover the pan) for no more than 3 minutes.  Serve directly from pan.  Sprinkle some additional grated Parmesan on top.

To keep things simple I serve this with french bread, slightly toasted and a side salad.  Takes no more than 30 minutes to throw this together.  Short on time, cook the pasta the day before.  Store it in a zip lock bag.  Same with shrimp.  Run hot water over the pasta in a colander.  Heat shrimp up in skillet with olive oil.  Continue with recipe directions above.

Having a few staples like this allows you to create a great meal in a short amount of time.  Sit at the table and enjoy your family.

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