Let’s just break down all our deeply rooted prejudices and admit that Pasta Roni is f’ing delicious. I remember when I was a moody, irrational, hormonally-imbalanced teenager who was unfairly forced to do the nightly dishes, because as you know, parents are jerks. My dad loved (and still loves) Pasta Roni so it was a staple in our weeknight routine. Like many teens working their way through the unreasonable expectations of ourselves and others, I’d eat only a spoon full of the Pasta Roni, because of course I was watching my figure. I would trudge into the kitchen to do the dishes (we had no dishwasher, can you imagine?!) and the first thing I would do is eat every. last. bite. of the leftover pasta out of the pan. Because something literally had taken over my body and I had no choice at all in the matter. Hello, my name is Shawny and I’m a (Pasta Roni) addict.
Fast forward 10 years (haha) to last week and I found myself at the grocery store looking for a weeknight side dish. I was about to enter into a very long several days of working at an event away from home and cooking for 2 client dinners and I wanted to save all of my culinary effort. I bought a couple steaks, some asparagus and… you guessed it. I almost always try and cook from scratch so it’s been years since I had ripped open that packet of fake cheese deliciousness. Well, sorry/not sorry, it was as good as I’d remembered and then and there I decided to try and make an upgraded version.
Because of the events I’d recently been cooking for, I had a boatload of random ingredients in my fridge. I also walked out into my backyard and saw my gorgeous chive blossoms were in full bloom and decided to incorporate them. Although the flowers give it a beautiful garnish and nice oniony bite, they are not at all necessary and this recipe can be made any time of year.
This pasta dish is a home run in the trilogy of easy, gourmet enough to serve to guests, and fast. There’s not a lot of ingredients, none are difficult and all are easily substituted for whatever you have in your pantry. I hope you enjoy it!
Easy and Cheesy Shrimp and Mushroom Capellini (aka- Better than Pasta Roni)
3/4 lbs shrimp – I prefer uncooked, peeled and deveined
1 t cumin
1 t cayenne pepper
1 t garlic powder
1 t paprika
2 T butter
1 large chopped shallot
8 oz sliced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 lb capellini pasta – can substitute for thin spaghetti or angel hair
1.5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup chopped basil
2 green onions, chopped
5.2 oz container of Boursin cheese – can use cream cheese or goat cheese as substitute if desired
red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste
chive blossoms for garnish – optional
This recipe is a piece of cake for a pretty weekend dinner or an easy weeknight meal.
Start with combining all shrimp seasonings with shrimp and let sit for 15-20 minutes while you cook the rest of the meal.
Set water to boil for noodles. While this is happening, saute onions and mushrooms in butter on medium heat for 5 or so minutes, until both begin to soften. Add minced garlic for additional 2 minutes then add broth. Turn heat to medium high until broth begins to bubble, them lower to a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes.
Add noodles to boiling water and cook according to package instructions. While noodles are cooking and mushrooms are simmering, add shrimp to a small skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and let cook for 5 minutes, or until shrimp is pink and done. Turn off heat.
Add milk to mushroom and broth mixture and again, raise temperature until bubbly then lower. Let cook down and add Boursin cheese, stirring consistently for 3 minutes. Drain pasta and add to mushroom sauce along with shrimp. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with green onions, basil, red pepper and chive flowers, if desired. Enjoy!