I kept seeing this recipe on my favorite cooking website, The Pioneer Woman, but never bothered to check out the ingredients or make it, as frankly, with a name like Penne a la Betsy, I had no idea what it was. Apparently, Betsy is the chef’s sister’s name, and that is who she named this concoction after. Once I saw that shrimp was the main ingredient, I had to give it a whirl. Boy was I happy I did! This is probably one of the best seafood pasta dishes I have ever had!



  • 3/4 pound penne pasta
  • 1 pound shrimp
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 whole onion (small)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine, or to taste
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 ounces)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Fresh parsley, to taste
  • Fresh basil, to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste



  1. Cook the penne pasta until tender-firm, also known as al dente.
  2. Peel, devein and rinse (under cool water) 1 pound of extra-large shrimp. Heat about one tablespoon butter and olive oil in a skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for a couple minutes until just opaque. Do not overcook them. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Now, put the cooked shrimp on the cutting board and pull off the tails. Chop the shrimp into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  3. Finely dice one small onion. Mince two cloves of garlic.
  4. In a large skillet heat two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally. After the garlic and onions have cooked a bit, add your white wine. Let the wine evaporate for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. If you would rather not use wine, you can use low-sodium chicken broth instead (about a half cup).
  5. Now add an 8-ounce can of plain tomato sauce. Stir well until combined. Then add one cup of heavy cream. Continue stirring. Turn heat down to low and let simmer.
  6. Now chop your herbs, about a tablespoon of chopped parsley and about the same amount of chopped basil.
  7. Now add your chopped shrimp back into the tomato cream sauce. Give it a stir and add salt and pepper to taste. Throw in your herbs and stir until combined. Finally add your cooked penne pasta and give it a good stir.


At first, it seemed like the sauce was a little runny, but after only a few minutes, it turned into a nice creamy, rich sauce. This is absolutely delectable! Enjoy!