Organic Whole Wheat Penne with Shrimp and Herbed Cream Sauce

Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday,the first day of Lent.  It was a day of fasting and abstinence from meat as are all Fridays in Lent.  So for all of you who are observing meat-less Fridays (meat-less everyday for some! *wink*), I hope to share more Lent-friendly recipes in addition to the good number I already have in my archive.

We were at Whole Foods Market two or three weeks ago purposely to buy organic brown rice.  Yes, we are slowly phasing white rice out of our diet and transitioning to healthier carbs. However, we still have a lot of white rice so it may be a while before it’s totally phased out of our daily meals, at least for hubby and my little girl. :D  During that trip to Whole Foods, I also threw in a pack of Organic Whole Wheat Penne in our shopping cart.  I made Shrimp and Herbed Cream Sauce, which is now a family favorite , to go with the penne.  It’s funny  how hubby’s and my Mom’s faces lit up like communication towers with a cell phone signal booster when I told them we were having this for lunch not too long ago.  Pasta love, I tell you!

This is a Giada de Laurentiis recipe that I immediately fell in love with when it was aired in her Food Network show, Giada at Home. I searched for the recipe at the Food Network website, which can be found HERE.  I made a few substitutions.  Instead of clam juice, I used shrimp juice. I simply put a few uncooked shrimp heads on a mortar, added a bit of water and pounded the shrimp heads with a pestle and strained the juice. ;) I also used fresh tomatoes instead of canned whole tomatoes.  Instead of medium shrimps, I used large ones!  Medium shrimps just don’t cut it for us. Haha! And the red pepper flakes we just add to our own individual servings.

Here’s my adapted recipe…


1 pound organic whole wheat penne pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt plus extra for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
3 pieces good-sized roma tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup white wine
1/3 cup shrimp juice
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan


1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Add the tomatoes, 1/4 cup basil, 1/4 cup parsley, and the red pepper flakes (if using). Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the wine, shrimp juice, 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.

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

We love love love this pasta dish.  Then again, I’ve always been partial to cream sauce for pasta…the richer, the creamier the better.  Hee hee.  But that can no longer be the case.  I now choose my food battles and I choose wisely. ;)

Have a great weekend, y’all!  Cheers!

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