As you all know, I like… LOVE pasta.

It is a major food group, the yin to my yang, the one thing that makes me feel better about life no matter what’s going on (kind of like the chips and guacamole from Chipotle… Yummmm).

It’s not too often that I can find a pasta dish that is “light”. Especially when there is some sort of cream sauce and cheese involved… (food weaknesses #15 and 16… out of 5,237,623….) I see the word “light” and automatically associate the recipe with words like “bland”, “no cheese”, and “not worth my time”.

Despite my skepticism I decided to try this one. Primarily because the creator regularly supplies me with food porn and I have yet to try a recipe (do I need to remind you of my issues with recipe hoarding?).

I don’t often make great decisions but this was one of those times the clouds parted and a bright idea was born.

Behold a light pasta that not only includes pasta, it also has shrimp.

And a cream sauce.

And cheese.

And it doesn’t taste like nasty diet food.

REALLY.

Need I say more?

Light Garlic Shrimp Baked Penne

Yield: Serves 4

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

A creamy, cheesy and healthy shrimp and pasta meal!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. rawshrimp, deveined and tail removed
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 6 oz whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 6 oz fat free evaporated milk
  • 1 oz light cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese for topping
  • Salt & pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a medium skillet, heat olive oil. Add 1 minced garlic clove and brown for approximately 1 minute. Add shrimp and cook until no longer translucent, approximately 3 minutes per side.
  • Cook pasta per the package instructions until al dente. Drain and return to the pan. Add tomatoes and cooked shrimp. Stir to combine.
  • In a small skillet, melt 1 Tbsp butter and add remaining garlic to the pan. Cook over medium-high heat for 1 minutes. Stir in flour until a soft mixture forms, approximately 1 minutes. Add half of the evaporated milk and whisk until smooth. When it begins to thicken, add the rest of the evaporated milk. When the mixture begins to thicken again, add cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Add in chicken stock to thin the mixture out a bit. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour sauce over pasta and stir to coat. Pour in a small baking dish and top with Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
(adapted from Pinch of Yum)