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Penne with Shrimp and Spicy Tomato Sauce

Paprika, cumin, and ginger lend their aromatic alchemy to a simple, no-cook tomato sauce. You can use the sauce with a wide range of ingredients (see Variations).

Plus: More Pasta Recipes and Tips

  • Servings: 4

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  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
  • 3/4 pound penne rigate
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, shelled


  1. In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, whisk together the olive oil and the lemon juice with the paprika, cumin, ginger, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and the cilantro.
  2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the penne rigate until almost done, about 12 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until it and the pasta are just done, about 1 minute longer. Drain. Toss with the tomato sauce.



o Penne with Mozzarella and Spicy Tomato Sauce: Use 1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes, in place of the shrimp. Toss the cheese in at the end.

o Penne with Sausage and Spicy Tomato Sauce: Use grilled sausage cut into bite-size pieces in place of the shrimp. Toss the sausage into the pasta with the tomato sauce.

o Penne with Grilled Vegetables and Spicy Tomato Sauce: In place of the shrimp, use grilled or sauteed vegetables such as mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, or green beans, cut into bite-size pieces. Toss the vegetables into the pasta with the sauce.

Suggested Pairing

With its competing spices, strong-flavored cilantro, and acidic tomatoes, this pasta dish calls for a simple Italian white—a Pinot Grigio, for example.

Photo © Christina Holmes Published March 2012

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