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Giada De Laurentiis has an easy shrimp and pasta dish that makes a perfect weeknight dinner when you’re short on time. The Food Network host has a “secret weapon” that makes the dish flavorful and quick.

Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis wears a floral dress while holding two plates with food and smiling
Giada De Laurentiis | Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Food Network

Giada De Laurentiis calls her shrimp and pasta recipe ‘a really sexy entree’

De Laurentiis shared the easy steps for making her spicy shrimp and pasta dish on her May 25 Instagram story. She included the caption: “Dinner tonight: pasta with spicy Calabrian shrimp” as she showed a photo from her cookbook for penne with spicy Calabrian shrimp.

“My favorite weeknight dinner,” she said. “So fast and so easy.”  De Laurentiis pulled the cookbook away to reveal the shrimp in a bowl.

She added garlic, olive oil, lemon zest, and salt to the bowl and then squeezed lemon over the shrimp. The Food Network host added crushed Calabrian chili paste from a jar to the shrimp. “This is my secret weapon for this dish — so good,” she noted.

Next, she cooked the pasta in a pot while cooking the shrimp, onions, and sun-dried tomatoes in a skillet. When the pasta was finished, she used a slotted tool to scoop it into the pan with the shrimp. De Laurentiis served the dish with cheese, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil.

In the pasta with spicy Calabrian shrimp recipe post on the Giadzy site, she noted, “I use Calabrian chili paste the way other people use sriracha, by which I mean in just about everything that needs a little extra kick. In this case, it turns what could be a pretty standard pantry dinner into a really sexy entree.”

The Food Network host makes a version without pasta

De Laurentiis made a spin on the pasta recipe on her Food Network show, but without the shrimp, calling it a “one-pot wonder.” She cooked the pasta in a small amount of water. “We’re cooking the pasta in an inch of water in a high-sided skillet,” she noted.

The Food Network star continued, “Usually when I cook pasta or penne … I cook it in about 8 cups of water. So it’s half the amount of water and, believe it or not, it’s gonna absorb all of the water and it’s gonna cook perfectly. I know it sounds kind of weird especially for an Italian to make pasta in not a lot of water but actually, it works beautifully.”

She added, “When I’m cooking really fast and something quick and easy and I want to make it all in one pot and I don’t want to clean up a lot of extra stuff, this makes a very easy dinner.”


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Giada De Laurentiis finished the easy pasta dish

De Laurentiis finished the dish by adding pecorino romano cheese, chives, and cherry tomatoes to the cooked pasta. “There’s going to be a little bit of water just left on the bottom which you need to create a little sauce,” she explained.

“The heat of the pasta in the pan kind of heats through the tomatoes but still you’re going to have a little bit of that crunch from fresh tomato,” De Laurentiis said.

She added the Calabrian chili paste. “It’s pretty basic but it’s really spicy,” she said. “When you take your first bite you probably won’t notice it’s super spicy but as you eat a little bit more of it, it slowly releases a sweet and spicy flavor which I think is really quite delicious.”

De Laurentiis added lemon zest, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil then tossed everything together.