Cheese Shrimp Penne Pasta & Spinach is a delightful and indulgent dish that combines succulent shrimp, tender spinach, and penne pasta in a creamy, cheese-infused sauce. This recipe offers a perfect balance of flavors and textures, making it a crowd-pleaser for family dinners or special occasions. In this detailed recipe, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of creating this delectable pasta dish that’s sure to impress your guests.
For the Pasta:
- 12 oz (about 3 cups) penne pasta
- 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
For the Sauce:
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley or basil
- Grated Parmesan cheese
Boiling the Penne Pasta:
- Cook the Penne:
- Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt to the boiling water.
- Add the penne pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions until it’s al dente (firm to the bite).
- Once cooked, drain the pasta and set it aside.
Preparing the Shrimp:
- Prep the Shrimp:
- Ensure that the shrimp are peeled, deveined, and patted dry with a paper towel.
- Sauté the Shrimp:
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the minced garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
- Add the shrimp to the skillet in a single layer and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side until they turn pink and opaque. Season with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and set them aside.
Making the Creamy Cheese Sauce:
- Prepare the Sauce Base:
- In the same skillet used for the shrimp, melt the unsalted butter over medium heat.
- Add the heavy cream, grated Parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, and cream cheese to the skillet. Stir continuously until the cheeses are fully melted and the sauce becomes creamy and smooth.
- Season the Sauce:
- Season the sauce with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper to taste. Adjust the seasonings according to your preference.
- Simmer the Sauce:
- Let the sauce simmer for about 3-4 minutes to thicken slightly, while stirring occasionally. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon.
Incorporating Spinach and Pasta:
- Add the Spinach:
- Toss the freshly chopped spinach into the creamy cheese sauce. Stir gently until the spinach wilts and is evenly distributed in the sauce.
- Combine the Pasta:
- Add the cooked penne pasta to the skillet, making sure it’s well coated in the creamy sauce. Stir to combine all the ingredients.
Bringing it all Together:
- Reintroduce the Shrimp:
- Gently place the sautéed shrimp back into the skillet with the pasta and sauce. Arrange them evenly throughout the dish.
- Warm Through:
- Allow the entire dish to heat through for an additional 2-3 minutes. This ensures that the shrimp are reheated and all components are well integrated.
Garnishing and Serving:
- Finishing Touch:
- Garnish the Cheese Shrimp Penne Pasta & Spinach with freshly chopped parsley or basil and grated Parmesan cheese for added flavor and a pop of color.
- Serve Hot:
- Serve this delectable pasta dish hot, either as a main course or as an indulgent side, accompanied by a side salad or garlic bread.
- This Cheese Shrimp Penne Pasta & Spinach is a complete meal in itself, but you can also serve it alongside a simple green salad with a light vinaigrette dressing.
- For extra zing, sprinkle some red pepper flakes or drizzle a bit of extra-virgin olive oil over the pasta just before serving.
Cheese Shrimp Penne Pasta & Spinach is a luxurious and flavorful dish that elevates any dining experience. The combination of succulent shrimp, tender spinach, and a creamy cheese sauce creates a harmonious balance of flavors and textures. This detailed recipe ensures that you can recreate this restaurant-quality dish in the comfort of your own kitchen. Whether it’s for a special occasion or a weeknight dinner, this pasta dish is sure to impress your loved ones and leave a lasting impression with its rich and indulgent taste. Enjoy the culinary delight and savor every mouthwatering bite!