Meatless Friday: Breakdown Pasta with Shrimp


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I changed up an old favorite recipe to accommodate the possibility of a picky eater among our dinner guests and wound up liking the result more than the original! Decades of experience feedings children and teens (and their visitors) have taught me that not everyone has an adventurous palate, and I’ve developed a survival skill that often allows me to satisfy the whims of various palates while avoiding Short-Order-Cook Syndrome.

I break down the dish and, when possible, cook components separately.

What I didn’t expect was to discover that the shrimp, cooked separately from the marinara, had much better flavor and texture. It was definitely worth washing one extra pan. And any leftover sauce can easily be frozen for another meal.

"Breakdown Shrimp Pasta" by Barb Szyszkiewicz (

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

Breakdown Pasta with Shrimp

Makes about 4 cups sauce (8 servings)

First, make the sauce.

Olive oil for the pan
1 cup onion, chopped
5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 TBL dried oregano (or 1 tsp fresh, chopped)
1 TBL dried basil (or 1 tsp fresh, chopped)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (or to taste)
1 ounce dry white wine
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (14 oz) petite-diced tomatoes
pinch of sugar
1 tsp kosher salt

Saute onion in olive oil until it begins to soften. Add garlic and seaonings, cooking until fragrant. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, then add tomatoes, sugar and salt. Stir, then cover and simmer about 30 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking, start the pasta.

Finally, make the shrimp.

This is enough for 4 servings of shrimp, so you’ll have about half the sauce left over for another use.

1 lb raw shrimp, peeled, cleaned and deveined (tails off)
2 TBL flour
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

Mix flour and spices. Pat shrimp dry and dredge in flour mixture. Saute in a little olive oil, turning after a few minutes, until shrimp is pink on both sides. Not all the shrimp will fit in your pan at once, so you’ll be cooking this a bit at a time. Remove to a bowl and continue cooking shrimp until all of it is cooked.

"Breakdown Shrimp Pasta" by Barb Szyszkiewicz (

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

What’s cooking? Find all our Meatless Friday featured recipes here.

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS


About Author

Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom, Secular Franciscan, managing editor for Today's Catholic Teacher magazine and editor at Her three children range in age from high school to young adult, and she enjoys writing, cooking, and reading. Barb is a music minister at her parish and an avid Notre Dame football and basketball fan. Find her blog at FranciscanMom and her family’s favorite recipes with nutrition information for diabetics at Cook and Count.

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