Penne alla Betsy

If you’ve never had Penne alla Betsy, then this is a recipe that you need to try! (By the way, this is a repeat from my blog, and it has been too long since I’ve eaten it…since August 2010!)  I made it for dinner tonight because it was quick and easy, and one of my favorites.  In addition, last night I had my sister and mom over for dinner and fixed Grilled Tomato Basil Chicken (to be blogged soon) and I had leftover fresh basil, which this recipe calls for.

Penne alla Betsy incorporates some of my favorite ingredients: pasta, shrimp, a creamy tomato sauce, and tons of fresh basil.  It is so flavorful, and can be prepared and served up within 20 minute.  Note: the recipe calls for raw shrimp, but I used cooked shrimp, and did not saute it in the pan for as long…I simply warmed it up.

The Penne alla Betsy recipe comes from Ree Drummond’s cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl.  I really like this cookbook, not just for the recipes, but for the step-by-step picture instructions she shows, and the interesting stories behind each recipe.  (Sorry, but I don’t have a really interesting story relating to making Penne alla Betsy.  All I can remember is making this recipe for the first time for my husband, Matt.  I also remember being shocked with how good this dish was!)

For those of you who have not heard of Pioneer Woman, she is a city girl that married a cowboy, who is referred to as the Marlboro Man, from Oklahoma.  The Pioneer Woman has attracted millions of followers to her blog, and she is extremely popular in the cooking world.

Enjoy Penne alla Betsy!

Saute shrimp over medium-high heat in 1 tbsp butter and olive oil for about 2 minutes, or until opaque.

Remove shrimp and saute onion and garlic in remaining 1 tbsp butter and olive oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until onion is translucent.

Add tomato sauce and heavy cream and stir until combined.

Add shrimp to sauce.

Add herbs and cooked, drained pasta.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Serve and garnish with Parmesan cheese, if desired.


Penne alla Betsy
  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • 1 lb. large shrimp
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ cup dry white wine (I omitted)
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Milk for thinning
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 basil leaves, cut in chiffonade
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Bring pot of water to a boil. Cook the penne until al dente (firm yet tender). Drain and set aside.
  2. Begin by peeling and deveining shrimp and rising them under cold water.
  3. In a small skillet over medium-heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When the pan is hot, add the shrimp. Stir and cook on both sides until it is just starting to turn opaque, about 2 minutes. Remove to a plate and allow to cool slightly.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the remaining butter and olive oil. Add the garlic and onion. Stir to combine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.
  5. If using wine, pour into pan and allow to evaporate, about 45 seconds. Pour in the tomato sauce and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low.
  6. Pour in the cream. Stir well to combine; reduce heat to simmer.
  7. Add the shrimp to the sauce and stir gently to combine. Next add the herbs and cooked, drained pasta. Stir gently to coat. If the sauce is too thick, add a little milk to get it to the right consistency. Add salt and pepper. Serve.
Source: The Pioneer Woman

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