Best Thing I Ever Ate: Chilled Perfection

A regular on my TiVo circuit is Food Network's "Best Thing I Ever Ate." Basically, famous chefs and food industry folk – think Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay and Ina Garten – share where they eat when they're not in their own (professional or home) kitchens. I don't know about you, but I find it fascinating to hear where some of my favorite foodies love to eat, especially when it's somewhere I've been and even more so when the meal is something I've actually HAD.

When this happens, watch out. Leave it to me to yell excitedly at my husband and then at the TV: "Honey, honey, honey! I've totally had that, too! S/he's right, that [appetizer, entree or dessert] is amazing!" Bryan just smiles and nods and goes back to whatever he's doing, knowing my food freak out is almost over. :)

The other night the "Best Thing I Ever Ate" theme was Chilled Perfection (they're taking a lot of liberties as it's pretty much anything served cold) and I immediately thought of my childhood-turned-adult favorite: The Balboa bar (and frozen banana!) at Dad's Donut Shop in Newport Beach, CA.

Dad's Donut Shop
Photo courtesy of TheSugarMagnolia

The famous Balboa Bar
Photo courtesy of OhHeyGreat

Perhaps I'm biased – I spent every childhood summer at my grandparents' house on Balboa Island – but this is the most simple yet delicious snack I can remember. Break it down and the individual parts are nothing special: a rectangle of ice cream dipped into a vat of Dad's version of melted chocolate shell. Oh, and it's on a stick, upping the fun quotient. Before the chocolate can freeze to the block of ice cream, the Newport teenager working their summer job behind the counter rolls it in your choice of toppings: chopped nuts, crushed Oreos, rainbow and chocolate sprinkles, toffee and an "everything" option.

Balboa Bar Toppings
Photo courtesy of Yelp

You could get all fancy-schmancy about it, noting the ice cream's creaminess, the crunch of the nuts, etc. But that's a bunch of crap: this thing is just GREAT. Ice cream, chocolate and toppings on a stick. How can you go wrong??

Especially since it's the Balboa Island experience that makes it amazing. You order from a small window in the front of the shop and, if you're like me at age 12, you've run straight from the beach. Barefoot, wearing nothing your bathing suit and covered in sand. The sidewalk is hot beneath your feet and as the sun beats down on your prized Balboa Bar, you realize you only have a few moments before your precious starts to melt and fall apart. Sometimes that's the best part, balancing eating the ice cream off the stick and picking up chunks of chocolate "shell" out of the hot dog-esque cardboard boat.

The "Everything" Balboa Bar
Photo courtesy of Yelp

Then comes the frozen banana: you pick a small, medium, large or extra-large banana that's been frozen on a wooden stick. They dip it in the chocolate shell and once again, roll it in the topping wonderland. The banana lasts a lot longer than the Balboa Bar, mostly because the frozen banana practically demands a few moments of open-air defrost before it will let you bite into it. But it's no less delicious, especially if you're a banana person.

The "Everything" Frozen Banana
Photo courtesy of Yelp

Dad's Donut & Bakery Shop
318 Marine Ave
Newport Beach, CA 92662
(949) 673-8686


Top 10 LA Cooking Supply Stores

LA Weekly is big on top 10 lists: Top 10 Food TV Shows, Top 10 Kit Kat Flavors You've Never Heard Of, Top 10 Chocolate Shops for Mother's Day (I'm working on this one as we speak), etc. If you can put it in a top 10 list, they want it. So when I write for them I try to create Top 10 lists that would personally interest me, and recently I thought of one I believed would help home cooks big-time in sourcing hard-to-find ingredients: Top 10 List of LA Cooking Supply Stores.

Here's the deal: you just received the latest issue of your favorite food magazine. Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, what have you. As you flip through the glossy pages of recipes and food porn, you spot it: the recipe you're going to make for dinner. But one glance at the ingredient list leaves you stumped. Where in the world do you buy Hungarian paprika? Miniature tart pans? Sanding sugar? I scoured LA's restaurant supply stores and came up with this list. Hopefully it will help you the next time you decide to make goulash. :)

If you're an Alton Brown geek (like we are), you'll find almost every kitchen gadget, utensil and supply you're looking for at Star Restaurant Supply. Forget about designer kitchen brands; these pots/pans, knives and baking trays might not be fancy but are made to last for years. Make sure to plan your visit accordingly (or order online), as Star closes at 5:30pm on weekdays and 4pm on Saturdays. Star Restaurant Supply: 6178 Sepulveda Boulevard, Van Nuys; (818) 782-4460.

Opened in 1989 by Charlie Lao, this eponymous Culver City landmark got its start in a small storefront on Washington Boulevard. Twenty-one years and one massive showroom later, Charlie turned his knowledge of used restaurant equipment into one of LA's top cooking supply stores. Whether you need a placemat to beautify your home presentation or a meat saw (yes, a meat saw) to slice proscuitto, Charlie's got it. Charlie's Fixtures: 2251 Venice Boulevard, Los Angeles; (323) 721-9023.

The "best place for cooks to shop" since 1972, Sur La Table's six LA locations stock authentic tools and serving pieces to help cooks make cuisines from around the world. Their employees know their stuff, whether it's about preparation, presentation, or the tools you need to make a simple or specialized dish. Sur La Table: Farmer's Market 6333 West Third Street Los Angeles; (323) 954-9190.

A gourmet Mecca since 1956, Williams-Sonoma has become the choice for high-end home cooks. Need a free-standing island for your kitchen? Stock your bar with Riedel glasses? Order cave-aged blue cheese from England for a holiday cocktail party? Once you're done stocking your kitchen, move on to your living and bedrooms. Williams-Sonoma: 339 North Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills; (310) 274-9127.

This Fountain Valley wholesaler - located in a 10,000 square foot showroom - sells kitchen equipment to everyone from professional restaurateurs to home chefs. Need chef shoes, barstools, display trays and an industrial sink? Look no further than this one-stop shop. 2000 Plus Restaurant Equipment: 11210 Talbert Avenue, Fountain Valley; (714) 435-4080.

Welcome to Toy Land for home (and professional) chefs. Need a flavor injector? Cappuccino frother? Shun knife? Chef's apron? A nugget ice machine? Chef's Toys seems to have everything, with reasonable prices to match. Just make sure not to blow your entire paycheck on bamboo skewers. Chef's Toys: 18430 Pacific Street, Fountain Valley; (800) 755-8634.

The hardware supply store equivalent for professional and home chefs. This Torrance-based store's slogan is "If we don't have it...you don't need it." Selling a complete line-up of high-end kitchen, cooking and baking brands - All-Clad, Krups, Le Creuset, just to name a few - Cookin' Stuff's staff has been stocking hard-to-find products since 1973. One of our favorites? A wine and cheese picnic tote. Cookin' Stuff: 22217 Palos Verdes Boulevard, Torrance; (310) 371-2220.

Tepper Bar Supply has been stocking the bars of Angelenos for 56 years, selling over 30 brands of china (Rosenthal, Bernadaud), flatware (Mikasa, Sambonet) and glassware. If you're building your bar from scratch, they can help with that, too, with staff members specializing in kitchen and bar design, installation and delivery. Tepper Bar Supply: 2250 Cotner Avenue, West Los Angeles; (310) 473-4380

Simply put, this is a baker's heaven. Take a cake decorating class and once you're done, stock up on fondants and gum paste, novelty baking pans, specialty gels, flavorings, icings, pastry bags, spatulas and more. Don't have time for a class? Check out their selection of cake, cookie, candy and chocolate-making books and DVDs. Gloria's Cake & Candy Supply: 12453 Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles; (310) 391-4557.

Walk into Surfas and you immediately feel like a little kid in a candy store. It's easy to spend hours perusing Surfas' aisles, finding everything from organic sugars (lemon basil, anyone?), truffles, boba tapioca pearls, chutney and an endless selection of professional appliances and cookware. Grab a tomato and fig sandwich at Cafe Surfas or just stick around and join one of Surfas' cooking classes, offered every week for around $65. Surfas Restaurant Supply and Gourmet Food: 8777 West Washington Boullevard, Culver City; (310) 559-4770.


Bon Appetit's Strawberry Pop Tarts

I was flipping through Bon Appetit yesterday and nearly fell over when I came across this recipe: homemade strawberry pop tarts. I started yelling to no one in particular (one of my quirkier traits), "Oh my God. Oh My God. OhMyGod! Homemade pop tarts!" Whoever sat in BA's recipe development meeting and thought of publishing a homemade pop tart recipe had a stroke of pure genius. I haven't the time or caloric wherewithal to make them yet, but the magazine provides a fantastic step-by-step guide that results in what I can only assume is homemade pop tart deliciousness. I'll update soon with my own pics and DIY experience, but in the meantime I couldn't wait to share the recipe!

Bon Appetit's Homemade Strawberry Pop Tarts
All photos courtesy of BonAppetit.com

Bon Appetit's Strawberry Pop Tarts
  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour + additional for shaping and rolling
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons ice water
  • 12 tablespoons strawberry preserves (preferably organic homemade)
  • Powdered sugar (optional)
  • Fresh strawberries (optional)
Make the dough: Whisk 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour, coarse salt, and sugar in large bowl. Add butter. Using fingertips or back of fork, blend in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water by tablespoonfuls, tossing until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball. Divide in half; shape each half into disk. Wrap in plastic. Chill at least 1 hour.

Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Working with one disk at a time, roll out dough on floured surface to about 13x11 inches. Trim to 12x10-inch rectangle, then cut into eight 5x3-inch rectangles.

Roll out chilled dough to 13x11 inches.

Cut dough into eight 5/3 rectangles.
Assemble the pop tarts: Arrange four rectangles, spaced apart, on each sheet. Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons preserves in row down center of each rectangle. Top preserves with second dough rectangle.

Place dough on baking sheet & top with 1 1/2 tablespoon preserves.
Top with other rectangle of dough.
Using fingertips, gently press all edges of each tart to seal; press all edges with tines of fork to double-seal. Using toothpick, poke a few holes in center of top dough rectangle. Cover; freeze tarts on sheets at least 2 hours and up to 1 week.

Gently press top & bottom layers together.
Crimp layers with edges of a fork to seal.

Bake the pop tarts: Position one rack in top third and one rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake frozen tarts uncovered until golden, reversing sheets after 15 minutes, 25 to 30 minutes total (some preserves may leak out). Immediately transfer tarts to rack. Sift powdered sugar lightly over. Serve warm or at room temperature with fresh berries.

Ta da! You've got homemade pop tarts!

Kodiak Cake's Whole Grain Pancakes

Anyone who reads this blog knows I love breakfast. Eggs, pancakes and waffles, to be exact. But one thing I don't love about pancakes and waffles is that they're not exactly super healthy. I mean, my favorite Gourmet Magazine recipe is unbelievable but if I made it everyday I'd be as big as a house. And while I love the taste of a buttery, syrup-laden pancake, I don't want to physically resemble one.

That said, I've been searching for a good whole wheat/grain pancake recipe but one thing or another happened and I kept putting it off. I didn't have the right flour, I didn't know the right ratio of ingredients, and bottom line, I was just afraid that it would taste like cardboard. No one wants a pancake or waffle that looks and tastes like UPS packaging.

Kodiak Cakes Frontier Flapjacks

Enter Kodiak Cakes Frontier Flapjack and Waffle Mix. I received an email from Kodiak Cakes – a Utah-based company specializing in whole grain pancake, waffle and dessert mixes – with an offer to send out a sample of their whole wheat, oat and honey pancake mix. Hoping it would fill the whole grain pancake hole in my life (and meal repertoire), I was happy to accept although admittedly skeptical of the result. I've rarely met a whole grain pancake that I loved, except at Maxwell's breakfast joint in Mar Vista. Once upon a time, Maxwell's base recipe had whole grains and granola in it; throw in a few blueberries or banana slices and I'm in heaven...

But I digress. Friday morning I whipped up a batch of Kodiak Cakes Frontier Flapjack and Waffle Mix, testing out the results on Bryan. After a quick look at the ingredients and nutrition label I was honestly shocked. The Frontier mix is made from 100% whole grain wheat flour, 100% whole grain oat flour, non-fat dry milk, dry honey (honey wheat starch), leavening, egg whites and salt. That's it. And it's truly good for you, with only one gram of fat, 130 calories, four grams of fiber and seven grams of protein for two four-inch pancakes.

Impressed but still skeptical by the just "add water" instructions, I turned on the burner and started making the batter. Usually by the time I'm done making the batter a pan is ready to go, but this batter took less than one minute to make. You could see the whole grain in the batter immediately and the consistency was nearly identical to, if not a wee bit thinner than,"regular" pancake batter. (Note: Since Bryan and I were the only ones eating I made 2/3 of the 1-cup recipe recommendation).

Just mix your desired amount of water...

...with the pancake mix.

Whisk until combined.

I ladled the pancake mix into the hot, making three four-inch pancakes. Unlike other pancake batters, the whole grain batter started to bubble almost immediately (perhaps from the absence of fat).

After about a a minute I flipped the pancakes, revealing a nice golden brown crust. Right away they started to puff up (my technical term) and after about another minute or two, they were done.

I made two more batches and divided the pancakes onto two plates, indulging in a small pat of butter along the way – hey, the pancakes are whole grain, I'm allowed – and slathered on grade-A maple syrup. The consensus? Bryan and I both really enjoyed them. We didn't miss the fat content or the richness of other white flour pancake recipes, as the whole grain added a heft that left us satisfied. The texture was smooth and light, the flavor was wheaty without being overpowering and the small pat of butter added a nice touch of salt and cold contrast to the hot pancakes. I've since made the pancakes on two additional mornings and we've enjoyed them just as much each time. My mother-in-law, who visited over the weekend and was on a healthy eating kick, gave them the thumbs up, too. Overall, a success! Now we'll just have to see how the batter translates into waffles...

Kodiak Cakes Frontier Flapjacks


Contraband Thomas Keller Bacon

I had an amazing epiphany the other night. I took Bryan to dinner at The Six, the West LA restaurant I reviewed last month. We ordered the beet panzanella but the kitchen forget to add its signature crumbles of bacon to the dish. After quickly realizing the kitchen's snafu (we were oblivious to the bacon's absence), our waiter brought us a plate of hot bacon strips. They were amazing; better than any bacon I've ever had. I can't even explain why...the bacon was just perfect. Not too crispy, too chewy, too oily or cut too thick. Just great.

When chef David Gussin came out halfway through our meal to say hello, I asked him if the bacon was the same bacon he had served during my February food blogger dinner, a special cut from a Louisiana pig farm. He said it wasn't; it was Hobbs' bacon, widely known throughout the culinary community as Thomas Keller's (French Laundry, Bouchon) bacon of choice.

Then he said something I never thought possible: "I can sell you some if you want."

Sell me some? The Thomas Keller bacon could be mine, right there and then, at the restaurant? While I had heard rumors of a friend negotiating a price on a tub of truffle honey from Carnevino in Vegas, I had no idea you could do that. But I jumped on the opportunity. Six dollars and an incognito brown bag later, one pound of Hobbs bacon was mine.

Since then I've been doing nothing but making bacon. Here's a breakfast I made for Bryan the other day before his two-hour therapy extravaganza: two eggs sunny side up, two pieces of whole grain toast with sliced avocado and of course, the bacon. Ahhh, the bacon.

I'm not sure if I'm the last person on earth to know about this little contraband restaurant food trade, but I'm really excited about it. So the next time you're at a restaurant and eat something you just can't live without, ask your server or chef if you can buy some. The worst they can say is "no," but I suspect they'll say yes!


Crispy Wonton Mushroom Cups

Second only to the 1993 issue of Gourmet Magazine pancake recipe, my mom has been making these mushroom cups forever. Ironically, they are the recipe literally next to the pancake recipe from the very same magazine. The mushrooms cups were a beloved staple at her adult-only Christmas parties, an event at which my presence was forbidden until I, too, became an "adult." I'm not exactly sure what marked my official rite of passage but I remember one year – instead of being shipped off to my grandparents for the night – my mom asked me to help her cook for her Christmas party. It was a fantastic turn of events, as instead of jealously pining over mushrooms cups I knew other people were enjoying, I got to help make, and inevitably, eat them.

So last weekend I decided to update my mom's classic recipe, which is traditionally made with white-bread-turned-baked-cups, by baking mini wonton cups and filling them with the same mixture. I'll warn you that these mushroom cups might not LOOK like much, but they are delicious little morsels indeed. People go nuts for them in a mushroom cup feeding frenzy.

Wonton Mushroom Cups

Here's how you make them:
  • 36 wonton wrappers
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
Make the wonton cups: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a miniature muffin pan with cooking spray. Insert wonton wrappers into the muffin pan so as to form small cups. Bake 5 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow the baked wrappers to cool a bit and then remove from the pan.

Here's an alternative "cup" idea, if you're not a fan of wonton wrappers: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut out a 3-inch round with a round cutter from individual slices of white bread, press the rounds into 1/8-cup muffin tins, forming cups, and bake the cups in batches in the middle of the oven 12-15 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Transfer the cups to racks and let them cool.

Arrange wontons in baking pan

Bake for 5 minutes or until golden brown

Make the mushroom mixture: In a skillet melt the butter over moderately high heat and in it sauté the onion, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté the mixture, stirring, for 15 minutes, or until the liquid from the mushrooms is evaporated.

Melt butter of high heat.

Cook onions until translucent; add mushrooms.

Cook mushrooms until liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat, sprinkle the flour over the mixture, and stir the mixture until it is combined well. Add the half and half, return the skillet to the heat, and cook the mixture over moderately high heat, stirring, until it is very thick. Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the salt, the cayenne, the black pepper, and the chives, the parsley, and the lemon juice, and let the mixture cool.

Add flour and stir to thicken.

Remove from heat and add rest of ingredients. Return to heat and stir until mixture thickens.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Transfer the cups to a baking sheet, divide the mushroom mixture among them, and sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top. Bake the cups in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Fill wonton cups with mushroom mixture.

Top each cup with grated Parmesan cheese.
Note: If you're making these in advance, the mushroom cups may be made up to this point and kept frozen, wrapped tightly. Reheat the mushrooms cups on a baking sheet in the middle of a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until they are heated through.

Bake for 20 minutes and serve immediately.


Bruschetta Bites + A Basil Chiffonade "How-To"

Lately, I've been obsessed with making bite-sized appetizers. I actually got a great appetizer cookbook – of course, the name escapes me right now – that focuses on all types of bite-sized apps. Skewers, wonton cups, pastry puffs, one-bite pizzas, itty-bitty sliders, etc. It's fuel for my culinary creative fire.

Bruschetta Bites

So for our mini dinner party on Saturday, I decided to make two bite-sized apps: bruschetta bites and crispy wonton mushroom cups. The bruschetta bites are so easy, full of traditional Italian flavors – think tomato, basil, garlic, olive oil – and the topping can be made a day in advance. They were a hit so I'm sharing them with you.

Here's how you make them:
  • 1/2 baguette or crusty long loaf bread, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 large cloves garlic, diced
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing and drizzling
  • 5 small plum tomatoes, halved and seeded
  • 20 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat broiler to high (if you prefer you can also grill the bread). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Brush each piece of bread with extra virgin olive oil and top with a pinch of sea salt, ground pepper and grated Parmesan cheese. Place bread slices on pan and broil until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Important: Keep and eye on the bread, as an extra few seconds can mean the difference between golden brown and really, really burned.

Cut bread into bite-sized pieces

Brush with olive oil, a pinch of salt & pepper and Parmesan

Place tomatoes, garlic and basil chiffonade in a small bowl. But wait one second; what if you don't know how to make a chiffonade cut? Here's Chiffonade 101: Pile basil leaves onto top of each other, roll into a tight cigar-like spiral and slice very thinly from one end to the other.

Step 1: Pile basil leaves on top of each other

Step 2: Roll tightly into cigar-like cylinder

Step 3: Slice very thinly from one end to the other
Basil photos courtesy of Flickr: TeenyTinyTurkey

Add a drizzle of oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to the tomato, garlic and basil timxture. Gently toss to coat.

Gently toss tomato and basil mixture
Place a small spoonful of tomato mixture on individual toast slices. Top with a slice or two of basil. Serve immediately.

Finished Bruschetta

Penne Vodka with Shrimp

Last night we had an incredibly fun-filled, intimate dinner party with one of our great couple friends. I knew we were going with an Italian theme but debated for a few days about what to make. I grabbed my trusty Everyday Italian cookbook thank you, Giada de Laurentiis!and scoured the pages. Classic Italian lasagna, while a delicious option, seemed time-consuming and a bit heavy. Veal bolognese was a good second option but you just never know how people respond to eating baby cow. In the end, I settled on a surefire group favorite: penne in vodka sauce with shrimp.

Penne vodka with shrimp

Giada has a delicious and super easy recipe for penne vodka. While the recipe doesn't call for shrimp, I adapted it to reflect one of our favorite dishes served at a local Italian joint. You just toss the shrimp with the sauce and pasta, throw on a handful of grated Parmesan and basil and go to town. I even attempt to make it "healthier" – if you can call a recipe with 1/2 cup heavy cream healthy – by using whole wheat penne. All in all it's a great dish for company, for two or an indulgent serving for one. Paired with an awesome Caesar salad (thank you, L!), Bryan's famous garlic bread and wonderful wines, it was a perfect evening. Not to mention a great excuse for setting our table with our favorite Italian plates!

An intimate dinner for four

Here's how you make the penne vodka with shrimp. My apologies for the lack of photos; drinking wine took priority over taking photos. :)
  • 3 cups Marinara Sauce
  • 1 cup vodka (I used Double White)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 pound raw jumbo shrimp, shelled, deveined, and tails removed
  • 1 box whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup basil chiffonade, for garnish
Make the vodka sauce: In a heavy, large skillet, simmer the marinara sauce and vodka over low heat, stirring often, until the mixture reduces by one fourth, about 20 minutes. Stir in the cream (make sure it's room temperature to avoid curdling) and continue to simmer over low heat until the sauce is heated through. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste.

Simmer sauce and vodka. Add cream and combine.

Remove sauce from heat and add Parmesan.

Mix all ingredients until fully combined.

Make the pasta: Fill a 3 quart pot with water. Add a generous pinch of salt, a drizzle of oil and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and stir occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking. Cook the pasta until it is al dente, about 8-9 minutes. Drain the water from the pasta and add pasta to the vodka sauce pan.

Cook the shrimp: In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, add shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Stirring occasionally, saute the shrimp until they start to curl and turn pink, about 5-7 minutes. Note: When fully cooked, the shrimp will not be translucent.

Assemble the dish: Add shrimp to skillet holding al dente penne and vodka sauce. Gently stir to combine all ingredients. Over low heat, cook for 2-3 minutes until sauce simmers and pasta starts to absorbs the sauce. Be careful not to overcook shrimp. Transfer to large serving bowl, top with grated Parmesan and basil.

Serve and enjoy!

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