Versatile Vanilla – Shrimp Penne with Vanilla Bean Vodka Sauce

Continuing on the Versatile Vanilla Voyage…

When buying Vanilla beans, you want to make sure that the Vanilla bean is dark brown (almost black), flexible and very aromatic.    When buying Vanilla extract, be sure to examine the ingredient list to make sure that what you are paying for is only flavored with Vanilla and not with artificial flavors.

Today’s Versatile Vanilla post features a recipe for an entrée.  Below is my take on Shrimp Penne with Vodka Sauce… I added a Vanilla Bean (minus the seeds) that I reserved from my previous Versatile Vanilla post.  The Vanilla really took it up a notch.    

My picky eater loved this dish!





Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Shrimp Penne with Vanilla Bean Vodka Sauce

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, sliced thin
2-3 Garlic Cloves, minced (depending on your taste)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Thyme
2-3 tablespoons fresh Basil, chopped  (plus more to garnish)
2 cups prepared Marinara Sauce 
1/2 cup Vodka
1 Vanilla Bean, split (with or without seeds)
1/2 Cup Fat Free Half & Half
2 lbs medium Shrimp, Peeled and Deveined
1 lb Penne Pasta, cooked (drain and keep warm)
Salt & Pepper

  • Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan.
  • Cook onion for 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic, oregano, thyme and basil.  Cook for 1 minute.  

  • Stir in marinara sauce and Vanilla Bean and cook for 5 minutes. 

  • Remove pan from heat and stir in Vodka.
  • Place pan back on heat and stir in Half & Half.  Bring to a simmer and add shrimp.  

  •  Cook shrimp until opaque (about 2-3 minutes).  Season with salt & pepper.
  • Add your pasta to your Vanilla Vodka Sauce.  Stir to coat.  Plate or serve family style.


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