Shrimp with Squash and Penne

Serves 4:

One of the life changes I’ve made this year is improving my diet. My beloved pasta has been so hard to cut back on. It’s my Go-To on nights when I get home late or when I want a quick cooking meal. And let’s face it it’s so versatile. So how do you make pasta dishes healthier? We’ll switching to whole wheat or even better, whole grain, is a start. Second…toss it with lots of veggies. This dish is filling yet light and nutritious. I’m fighting the urge to also say delicious because of the rhyming factor so I’ll just say it’s tasty! It’s also a relatively quick cook so give it a whirl on a weeknight too. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 1 lb of whole wheat penne
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp parsley
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 Tbsp of EVOO
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • ¼ cup of parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and Pepper

Prep It:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Meanwhile, mince the garlic. In a large bowl toss the shrimp with the garlic and set aside.
  • Slice the zucchini and squash lengthwise into ¼ in slices. Then cut them into ¼ inch strips…sort of like French fries.
  • Coarsely chop the parsley.

Cook It:

  • Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Return the pasta to the pot.
  • While the pasta cooks, add 1 tbsp of EVOO to the skillet and sauté the shrimp until cooked. This takes about 2 – 3 minutes per side. Squeeze half the lemon juice over the shrimp when they’re done, remove from the pan and set them aside.
  • Next sauté, the squash in the same pan as the shrimp. Cook them until they soften and begin to take on some color. The juices will also help deglaze the pan and give the squash a lovely garlicky, shrimpy flavor. Once they’re cooked, remove them from the pan and set them aside. Return the pan to the stove.
  • Add the remaining 3 tbsp of EVOO and lemon juice to the pan. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook for 1 – 2 minutes. Add the butter, swirling the pan around to incorporate the butter into the pan juices. Add the parsley, season with salt and pepper and swirl once more to combine.
  • Add the zucchini and parmesan cheese to the pasta and pour the pan juices over the top. Stir to combine. If it seems a little dry add some of the cooking liquid to help moisten the pasta.

Serve It:

  • Put some of the squash and pasta in a bowl and top it with 3 – 4 shrimp. Sprinkle with a little more cheese and parsley and chow down!
  • Change it up!
    • Zucchini and those similarly shaped yellow squash are in season in summer.  If you’re jonsing to make this in the fall or winter, spaghetti squash would work really well in this recipe also. Cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, place it face down in a glass baking dish with a few tablespoons of water and nuke it for about 7 – 9 minutes or until tender. Use a fork to shred out the insides and then toss it in with the pasta as you would the zucchini.
    • Not a fan of shrimp? Scallops would be delightful! That’s actually what I planned to sear up when I wrote this recipe but all I could get was shrimp. Toss them in a bit of seasoned flour before you sauté them up. Cooking time is about the same.
    • Don’t like seafood at all? BLSL chicken would work too.

Tips:

  • Don’t overcook the shrimp or they become tough. Here’s a fun little tip I got from the Food Network to help tell when they’re ready. As shrimp cooks, it curls. Once they form a ‘C’ shape, they’re cooked. When they totally curl up and form an ‘O’ shape they’re overdone. Cute, huh? ‘C’ for COOKED and ‘O’ for OVERDONE. Keep in mind too that food continues to cook for a few minutes more once you’ve taken it off the heat.

Images and Recipe – Copyright Alex Corzo 2012

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