Creamy Penne with Shrimp and Broccoli

This post is sponsored by Parrano Cheese. Thank you for supporting the brands that make A Thought For Food possible.

These last couple of weeks have been pretty packed. Eric and I went down to New Jersey at the beginning of the month to see my family. Most of our visits tend to be centered around holidays or birthdays, but for this trip we just went down to spend a few days with everyone and it made for a more relaxing stay. My parents even took us out to a great Mediterranean restaurant in Montclair called MishMish Cafe, where we got to eat some of the best pita and hummus I've had outside of Israel. A really fantastic and cozy spot that I can't wait to return to. When we got back, I immediately jumped into a variety of photo shoots... restaurants, events, and a cookbook. I know at some point I'll able to take a breath, but, for now, I'm just tearing through all this work. 

The weather has been so weird lately, with drastic fluctuations in temperature occurring daily. But apparently my body doesn't care about any of that because it's craving all the comfort foods. Roasted squash and soups and pasta. Lots and lots of pasta. I want it all the time. Now, I have some will power (very little, but some) and, so, I try to refrain from making it too often. However, when I do, I like to go big.  So, in working with Parrano cheese, I knew I wanted to use it for a wonderful, rich sauce. I grew up an Alfredo sauce lover and, in many ways, this is what this dish reminds me of. It's got the same salty and nutty notes of a Parmesan, but it's super creamy too. The pairing of the shrimp and broccoli make it feel a bit more substantial (and give it some nice color). And there's the finishing touches of cracked black pepper and fresh parsley that takes it beyond a decadent plate and round out the flavors. It's a simple recipe that comes together rather easily (everything cooks at the same time and can be tossed together in a bowl... which is my idea of the perfect dish).

To see where you can get your hands on some Parrano (so you can make this pizza), check out their store locator. 

Creamy Penne with Roasted Shrimp and Broccoli (Featuring Parrano Cheese)


For the cheese sauce
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
2 cups finely grated Parrano Cheese
Garlic Powder

For the roasted shrimp and broccoli
1 large head broccoli, about 1 pound, cut into small florets
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Olive oil
1 lb boxed penne, cooked

Fresh cracked black pepper
Fresh parsley, chopped


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a mixing bowl, toss broccoli and shrimp with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with 2 teaspoons salt. Spread across baking sheet and place in oven. Cook for 16 minutes, taking it out half way through to give it a stir.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour. Once combined with butter, add 1 cup milk and whisk until dissolved. Whisk Parrano Cheese into milk mixture. Once smooth, lower heat to a simmer. Season with garlic powder and salt. Keep warm until ready to use.

In a serving bowl, toss cooked penne with sauce. Mix in roasted broccoli and shrimp. Transfer to a platter or bowl and season with fresh cracked black pepper and chopped parsley.