When it comes to my pasta recipes (new ones, especially), I’m incredibly picky. There’s no way I’m going to waste my daily calories on a pasta dish I think is going to be “just OK.” So when I came across this recipe in Annie’s blog, I knew it was one I needed to try. Heavy cream aside, you can make this dish into one that is a little lighter on the calories by using whole wheat pasta…and if you wanted to, you could probably even use skim milk or a combo of skim and heavy cream (or half n’ half) to lighten it up too. I’ve used skim milk as a substitute for heavy cream and half n’ half plenty of times with great results.I have to say that I’ve only visited the Pioneer Woman’s blog a couple of times but after this recipe, I’m definitely going back for more. 🙂 (NOTE: As I write this post, The Pioneer Woman’s blog is down because she is in the process of launching a new site – please be patient. 🙂 The original recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman Cooks and the recipe below is Annie’s adaptation of the recipe with a couple of my additions.

My intuition about this recipe was right. It was excellent. The sauce could have been a little thicker but other than that, it passed with flying colors. The cut up shrimp infused the entire dish with flavor and after adding some sautéed asparagus (not in Annie’s version) the dish really came alive. I omitted the basil since I didn’t have any and omitted the parsley since I can’t stand it. We’ll definitely see this one again at the table.

Penne a la Betsy

source: adapted from Annie’s Eats, original recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

  • ¾ lb. penne pasta
  • 3 tbsp. butter, divided
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. large shrimp
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup white wine (or chicken broth)
  • 1 (8 oz.) can plain tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • basil leaves, to taste (use a bunch!)
  1. Boil water and cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, while water heats and pasta cooks, make the sauce. Melt 1 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for a few minutes, until opaque. Remove to a plate to let cool. Heat 2 tbsp. butter and 2 tbsp. olive oil in the skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally. While the onion and garlic are cooking, chop the shrimp into small, bite-sized pieces. Add the wine (or chicken broth) to the pan and allow to reduce for a few minutes. Chiffonade the basil leaves and set aside. Stir in tomato sauce. Add the heavy cream and stir well to combine. Add shrimp back to the skillet and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the parsley and basil and mix well.
  3. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add the sauce to the pot and stir well to combine. Serve.
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Leave a Comment

  • slightlycheaperthantherapy
    April 2, 2008 at 4:00 PM

    I discovered this today on TPW and I’m already drooling at the prospects. Maybe if I cut up the veggies in really teeny tiny pieces I can pass them off on the Hubby as “herbs”. :o) Glad to know it turned out well for you!!

  • Ruchi
    January 8, 2010 at 10:26 PM

    Thanks for this recipe. I made a very skimmed version (used onion, garlic, basil and cream) and even then it turned out great!

  • Pam
    February 12, 2010 at 1:53 PM

    Great recipe! It sounds delicious and is a keeper for sure!