Farmers Markets, Fresh from the Gulf, Hungry for Louisiana, Pasta

Light and right for spring: Penne Primavera with Fresh Gulf Shrimp

April 28, 2016

This week’s recipe is one of those no-rules ones that’s adaptable at will. Pasta with fresh Gulf shrimp and lightly sautéed seasonal vegetables is something I absolutely love to have around the house this time of year. It’s cozy, healthy and packed with flavor. Change out the vegetables as the season evolves. Clip some herbs from the backyard to make it sing. Serve it with a simple salad and a crusty loaf of bread for an easy dinner. The only labor-intensive part is peeling the shrimp, but it’s well worth it.

Clean-up is easy; I use one large sauté pan to cook all the ingredients except for the pasta.

Penne Primavera with Fresh Gulf Shrimp
Serves 6


¼ cup olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 bell peppers (preferably red, yellow or orange), cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 small to medium yellow squash, cut into 1-inch slices, then sliced across middle
3 small to medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch slices, then sliced across middle
2 pounds fresh head-on* large Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1 16-oz. package penne (regular or whole wheat)
½ cup chopped fresh herbs for garnish, (use basil, or a combination of basil, parsley, thyme, chives and tarragon)

In a 12-inch nonstick sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and cook for about 3 minutes. Add bell peppers and tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, squash and zucchini and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove vegetable mixture from heat and pour it into a bowl. Do not wipe pan clean. Allow oil to remain. Return pan to heat. Salt and pepper shrimp on both sides and add to hot pan. Sauté about one-and-a-half minutes on each side until curled and just cooked through. Return vegetables to pan, toss to combine with vegetables and remove from heat. Prepare pasta according to directions. Toss pasta and vegetables.

Plate pasta and garnish with fresh herbs. And despite what Italian food snobs say about how wrong it is to pair cheese and seafood, go ahead — load it up with parmesan cheese.

*I always try to use head-on shrimp because they’ve been handled less, but if you’re partial to headless, go for it.


Other vegetables to use:

Artichoke hearts
Carrots (diced small or shredded)
Swiss chard


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