Show-off Shrimp and Penne

Written By Pam Brandon and Anne-Marie Denicole On March 10, 2014

Divas of Dish

Diva shrimp and pasta

For some, March Madness might refer to college basketball – for the divas, it’s a time of year when we’re pulled in a dozen directions. And when there’s not even time to dash through the grocery’s express lane, here’s a quick one-dish dinner you toss together with staples every diva should have on hand. (A well-stocked pantry beats the drive-through any afternoon.) 

Stock up on dry pasta, canned tomatoes, olive oil and fresh garlic. Keep a stash of kalamata olives, feta cheese and decent bottle of white wine in the fridge. In a pinch you could forego the frozen shrimp, but they elevate this dish to star status. The only ingredient you need to grab fresh is parsley or basil, which easily grows in a back-porch pot.  

This is a breezy recipe to double if you need to cook for a crowd.  You may want to add a few tablespoons of your best-quality olive oil just before serving, or some extra feta cheese.



Show-Off Shrimp and Penne

Serves 6

  • 1 pound peeled and deveined frozen shrimp
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14-ounce.) can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • Coarse salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1/2 pound penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup crumbled feta
  • 4 tablespoons fresh chopped basil or flat-leaf parsley


  1. Put salted water on to boil.
  2. Thaw shrimp under running water for 2 to 3 minutes; drain and set aside.
  3. Heat oil, then sauté the garlic for 1minute in a large nonstick skillet. Pour in tomatoes and wine, seasoning with dried basil, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add olives and cook for 2 minutes; then add shrimp and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove bay leaf.
  4. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water before draining. Combine pasta with shrimp and sauce, adding a few teaspoons of pasta water as necessary. 
  5. Toss mixture with feta cheese and fresh herbs; serve immediately.


Diva confession: While Parmesan is most often used with pasta dishes, feta cheese adds a rich, tangy flavor. Known as a pickled cheese, the flavor of feta becomes sharper and saltier with age. Properly stored in brine and refrigerated, feta cheese will last up to 3 months, but don’t freeze. 

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