Penne Marco


Happy Anniversary My Love!

It’s been 12 years since we walked down the aisle!  My husband, Mark and I are not big on gifts.  Every once in a while, we’ll find that perfect present that finds its way into some wrapping paper, but it is not our tradition.  We tend to prefer a big night out, grown ups only where we remember why we became husband and wife in the first place.

As hectic schedules will have it, a special celebration at a fab restaurant wasn’t going to happen this year, so I did what any creative recipe developer might do.  I made my man a special meal, a meal that was shared with those closest to us, the bambinos.  Lollie set the table with flowers and a candle.  Wedding dishes made their way out of the server.  Maverick put on a clean shirt.  Vincenzo, in typical 3 year old style, wanted to know why he didn’t get a placemat?

Penne Marco

A date night pasta that still works 12 years later.  Tomato sauce studded with shrimp and pancetta tossed with penne, garnished with lots of Parmesan.

1 lb. penne pasta
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 oz. pancetta, chopped
1 leek, white part only, washed, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher salt, more to taste
1 cup chicken broth
1 (28oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 lb. raw, jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
1/4 cup chopped, flat-leaf Italian parsley
2 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1.  Cook penne according to package instructions in a large pot.  Drain penne and return it to the pot.  Do not rinse the penne.

2.  While the pasta cooks, start the sauce.  Add olive oil to a large frying pan over medium heat.  When hot, add pancetta.  Cook and stir until fully cooked and crispy.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer pancetta to a bowl.  Set aside.

3.  Add leeks, garlic, red pepper, black pepper and salt to the frying pan.  Cook and stir until leeks are very soft, about 5 minutes.  Add chicken broth and crushed tomatoes, stir until evenly blended.  Bring to a simmer.

4.  Stir in shrimp, parsley and basil.  When shrimp is cooked through, pour the sauce over the pasta and toss well.  Serve in a big bowl, family-style and garnish with cheese.

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