Penne With Creamy Tomato Vodka Sauce and Seared Shrimp

Penne With Creamy Tomato Vodka Sauce and Seared Shrimp (500x321) Fast paced lifestyles are sometimes an excuse for poor eating choices. That does not have to happen to you, though!  This is one of my favorites – pasta with a creamy tomato sauce. In the time that it takes you to boil a pot of water and then cook some pasta, the rest of the dinner will be cooked and ready to be served. You might as well have one of your family members set the table as soon as you start cooking, because dinner will coming right up. I am absolutely in love with recipes like this, super quick and simple, but packed with freshness and flavor.

The creamy tomato sauce is amazing. With fresh herbs, a touch of luscious cream and flavored with sweet, crispy shallots and aromatic garlic, I don’t know about you, but it’s a winner in my book. Served with juicy, plum shrimp, this pasta dish is complete. 

Ingredients:

1 lb penne pasta

2 lbs large raw shrimp, deveined and shells removed

2-3 Tablespoons oil

2-3 shallots, thinly sliced

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, pureed

1/4 cup vodka, or chicken broth

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 Tablespoons each, fresh basil, parsley, minced

salt, pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and then cook the pasta the way you like it. IMG_6859 (500x333) In the time that it takes you to cook the pasta, you should have the sauce and shrimp ready too, so have your ingredients prepped and ready to hit the skillet.

Heat the oil in a skillet until it’s really hot and quickly place the shrimp in one layer into the skillet. IMG_6847 (500x334) You will need to cook the shrimp in 2 batches.  Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. The most important thing is to make sure you don’t overcook the shrimp. By the time I placed the last shrimp into the skillet, it was time to start flipping the first shrimp. The shrimp will easily release from the skillet when they are ready. IMG_6850 (500x334) Cook for another minute on the other side and set the shrimp aside in a covered bowl. Repeat with the rest of the shrimp. IMG_6852 (500x334) Instead of shrimp, you can also pan sear some chicken, sausage, meatballs or mushrooms. This sauce goes well with just about anything.

In the same skillet, add a little more oil, reduce the heat to medium and add the shallots and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the shallots are tender. IMG_6867 (500x334)

IMG_6869 (500x334) Pour in the vodka and it will deglaze your pan. All those lovely brown bits will release from the bottom of the skillet and create and rich and flavorful sauce. If you don’t want to cook with alcohol, just substitute the same amount of chicken broth for the vodka. 

IMG_6872 (500x334)

IMG_6875 (500x334) Cook for about 2 minutes and then add the pureed diced tomatoes. (I usually pulse the tomatoes in my food processor.)

IMG_6878 (500x334) Season with salt and pepper, cook for 5-7 minutes. IMG_6880 (500x334) Pour in the heavy cream, and mix to combine. IMG_6881 (500x334) Add  the sauce, herbs and shrimp to the cooked pasta. Mix to combine and serve.

IMG_6886 (500x334)

Penne With Creamy Tomato Vodka Sauce and Seared Shrimp (2) (500x334)

Penne With Creamy Tomato Vodka Sauce and Seared Shrimp (500x321)

 

Penne With Creamy Tomato Vodka Sauce and Seared Shrimp
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 2 lbs large raw shrimp, deveined and shells removed
  • 2-3 Tablespoons oil
  • 2-3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, pureed
  • ¼ cup vodka, or chicken broth
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons each, fresh basil, parsley, minced
  • salt, pepper
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and then cook the pasta the way you like it.
  2. In the time that it takes you to cook the pasta, you should have the sauce and shrimp ready too, so have your ingredients prepped and ready to hit the skillet.
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet until it's really hot and quickly place the shrimp in one layer into the skillet. You will need to cook the shrimp in 2 batches. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. The most important thing is to make sure you don't overcook the shrimp. By the time I placed the last shrimp into the skillet, it was time to start flipping the first shrimp. The shrimp will easily release from the skillet when they are ready. Cook for another minute on the other side and set the shrimp aside in a covered bowl.
  4. Repeat with the rest of the shrimp.
  5. In the same skillet, add a little more oil, reduce the heat to medium and add the shallots and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the shallots are tender.
  6. Pour in the vodka and it will deglaze your pan. All those lovely brown bits will release from the bottom of the skillet and create and rich and flavorful sauce. If you don't want to cook with alcohol, just substitute the same amount of chicken broth for the vodka.
  7. Cook for about 2 minutes and then add the pureed diced tomatoes. (I usually pulse the tomatoes in my food processor.)
  8. Season with salt and pepper, cook for 5-7 minutes.
  9. Pour in the heavy cream, and mix to combine. Add the sauce, herbs and shrimp to the cooked pasta, mix to combine and serve.

 
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Comments

  1. Oksana says

    This seems like such a great recipe. I’m hoping to give it a try this week sometime. Everyone in my family loves shrimp, and we sometimes buy it precooked(which is what we have in our freezer at this time). Would that still work? Instead of searing it in the skillet, so that we don’t overcook it, I put it in boiling water to heat it? Or does it specifically have to be seared for the flavor? (We love to make your shrimp scampi when we buy raw shrimps, delicious and so flavorful.)

    • says

      I prefer using raw shrimp, but if that’s what you have, you can use that too, just heat it up any way you like and serve it with the pasta and sauce. It will still work.

  2. larisa says

    Just made this and omg its soooo good!!! Olga I said it before and ill say it again! Your recipes rock my kitchen ;) thank u so much for all your time and effort u put into this! :) God bless u

    • says

      No, a shallot is not a red onion. A shallot is in the onion family, but it has a much milder flavor. It’s much smaller than a regular onion and has several cloves, usually 2 or 3. You can use one small onion, or half of a red onion instead if you can’t find shallots.

  3. olga says

    Hi Olya.
    What does vodka do to the sauce? A friend of ours gave us some vodka to use as medication for something and he poured it into a glass for us. I’m assuming most plain vodka is the same? Kinda smells like rubbing alcohol. Is that the correct type to use?

    • says

      Hi Olga,
      The vodka will bring out the tomato flavor even more and give the sauce some zing and lots of great flavor. Yes, any vodka will work in this recipe. If you’d prefer not to use it, just substitute it with chicken broth.

  4. Vitaliya says

    Wow!!! This recipe is delicious! I love the sauce! I made this today and it’s our first dinner that I made since we got married! What an amazing recipe! Thank you!

    • says

      I’m honored that you chose this recipe for such a special occasion, Vitaliya. I remember the first thing I cooked for my new husband when we got married was an omelet:). Awesome memories.
      I wish you many happy years and great memories built around the family dinner table.

  5. Vita says

    If I have the vodka sauce already bought kind, can I just use that and add the shrimp and spaghetti? Or you recommend fresh made?

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