Simply sautéed shrimp, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and garlic smothered in an herby pomodoro sauce and tossed with whole grain penne, kalamata olives, and freshly shredded Italian cheese. Aka the ultimate bowl of wholesome, flavor-loaded Mediterranean comfort. And this shrimp penne can be ready in minutes!
I’ve noticed that pasta is tragically underrepresented on the blog compared to the volumes I consume on a weekly basis. Sauté-and-toss-together pasta dishes are
- the perfect vehicle for loading up on healthy natural ingredients,
- one of the yummiest ways to craft a complete balanced meal,
- versatile and never boring,
- warm and comforting,
- quick and stress-free,
- …ya basssssically my weeknight LIFE-SAVERS.
This saucy, cheesy, veggie-heavy shrimp penne medley isn’t especially different from recipes I’ve shared in the past (like this Skillet Chicken Penne or Crab Linguine), but it is without a doubt one of my current favorites.
And it deserves its own page.
Meet the Players
As I said, this is super simple to make, so it’s really all about your ingredients:
Use high-quality olive oil, and BE SURE NOT TO OVERHEAT or you will destroy both its nutritional benefits and flavor. Load up on freshly sliced mushrooms (I like cremini, shiitake, and/or oyster), red bell pepper, yellow onion, and fresh minced garlic, plus a generous sprinkle of dried Italian herbs and black pepper. Again, overcooking will take a toll on the nutritional profile (destroying the LOADS of vitamin C in the red bell pepper and antioxidants in the garlic), so make sure to keep an eye on it. When the veggies are just beginning to soften, throw in your shrimp (wild pink or red are the best!) and cook just until pink. Finally, a splash of white wine to deglaze the pan works magic for the flavor.
The sauce is IMPORTANT, because any sauce can make or break your dish. My all-time favorite pomodoro sauce is unquestionably Dave’s Organic Red Heirloom–tastes unbelievably light and fresh (no overpowering tomato flavor) with herbs and garlic and glorious hunks of tomato. However, feel free to sub in your own favorite or homemade tomato-based pasta sauce!
This is up to you based on your dietary needs (ie gluten free if necessary). I use 100% whole wheat penne and love DeLallo’s.
My favorite melter in this type of pasta dish may be a surprise: “Bruschetta Monterrey Jack,” from Publix deli or Sargento. If you ever come across it, GET IT; it will change your life. But if not available, freshly shredded mozzarella (regular or smoked), fontina, provolone, or another Italian semi-soft cheese would work beautifully.
Olives typically show up in a side note as optional (due to people’s wishy-washy feelings about them), but I think it’s time they be rightly recognized. Olives, today you get your own heading. Black Kalamatas add the perfect little punch of Mediterranean flavor that truly sets this dish apart. To all my olive skeptics: slice them super thin, toss ’em in with the sauce, and you can savor the yummmmm without even knowing they’re in there.