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Weekday dinner inspiration: Penne With Fresh Tomato Sauce and Shrimp, and more

Mon | Market dinner

Tampa Bay outdoor markets are in full swing and we're celebrating better weather and fresh, local produce this week in Stir Crazy. Take advantage of the bounty for Penne With Fresh Tomato Sauce and Shrimp (recipe below). Pick up Roma tomatoes and fresh basil, along with shrimp and cheese, at a market close to you.

Tues | Tuscan comfort

Tuscan Grilled Cheese With Tomato Soup is a simple, yet sophisticated, weeknight meal. For the sandwiches, brush sturdy country bread with olive oil then layer on thin smoked mozzarella slices, fresh basil leaves, ripe tomatoes and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette. Grill as you do a regular grilled cheese sandwich. Open a box of organic tomato soup. Eat pineapple with vanilla ice cream for dessert.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Carve a couple of birds and make a simple Yellow Squash Casserole. Cut 3 large yellow crookneck squash in 1/4-inch slices and layer in a pie or quiche pan. In a separate bowl, mix 2 large eggs and 1/2 cup half-and-half or evaporated milk. Season with salt and pepper and add about 1/2 cup or more grated cheese. Pour over squash. Sprinkle top generously with bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Thurs | Big salad

Top leafy greens and fresh, chopped vegetables (go for radishes!) with anything you'd like to grill (shrimp, salmon, steak, chicken, pork tenderloin) for a Grilled and Green Salad. Don't forget other add-ons such as grated or crumbled cheese, chopped hard-boiled eggs and canned beans. Use whatever dressing you'd like and serve it all with that fabulous artisan bread you bought at the market. (Store in the freezer when you bring it home for use later in the week.)

Fri | Skewer dinner

We're outside again tonight making Pork Kebabs with chunks of marinated pork tenderloin threaded with tomatoes and onions. Brush any other vegetables with olive oil, sprinkle with coarse salt and toss them on the grill, too. Serve with rice.

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Penne With Fresh Tomato Sauce
and Shrimp

3/4 pound penne pasta

1 1/2 pounds Roma tomatoes

1/2 pound mozzarella cheese

3/4 cup snipped fresh basil

7 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

12 ounces medium raw, peeled shrimp

1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs

Grated Parmesan cheese

Cook penne in boiling water according to package directions, about 9 minutes.

While pasta is cooking, cut tomatoes in half, remove seeds and chop into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a large bowl. Cut mozzarella into 1/2-inch dice and add to bowl. Add basil, 6 tablespoons of olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper and toss to mix. Set aside.

Place shrimp in a medium bowl. Toss with dried herbs. Place 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add shrimp and saute, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, until shrimp are pink and just cooked through. Remove from heat.

Drain pasta and place in a large bowl with fresh tomato sauce. Toss to coat pasta with tomato sauce. (The warm pasta heats the sauce and melts the cheese slightly.) Add shrimp and toss again to mix. Sprinkle each portion with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese.

Serves 6.

Source: Quick, Cheap Comfort Food by Victoria Shearer (Sellers, 2009)

Weekday dinner inspiration: Penne With Fresh Tomato Sauce and Shrimp, and more 11/17/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 6:25am]
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