Oct 11, 2021

Garlic Shrimp Pasta Bake (with Mozzarella, Cheddar, and Provolone)

The fact is, I was going to make it into a much fancier "seafood" pasta bake, but eventually shied away the hefty price tags. Besides shrimps, my original list of ingredients including scallops and jumbo lump crab meat, I was too naive.

The cost of adding scallops and crab meat can easily top the price for this dish's all other ingredients combined, and way more. Trying to be reasonable when doing my grocery shopping, plus I was only making a regular family meal, not like celebrating or a date dinner. So I gave in. I'll settle with double the originally planned portion for the shrimps instead. That will do.

Garlic shrimp pasta bake with Mozzarella, Cheddar, and Provolone - 

Garlic shrimp pasta bake

Ingredients (about 6 portions)?

  • 300 grams peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 package/500 grams penne pasta
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 small bundle fennel leaves
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed shredded cheese (must have Mozzarella in it)
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Some salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 small bundle parsley


Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Dice the tomatoes, saving the seeds and pulp also. Peel and devein the shrimp. Juice half the lemon, we need about 1 to 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Finely chop the parsley, flat leaf parsley preferred, but if unavailable, curly variety works too. Chop the fennel leaves too, just the leafy part, not going to use the bulb this time.

Prepare a medium large baking dish. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 degrees Celsius.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add some salt to the water. Cook the pasta till almost al dente, like still a bit undercooked. Once ready, drain and set aside.

Cooked and drained penne pasta

Prepare a large pan or pot. Add 1 tablespoon of butter along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, turn to medium high heat. Add in garlic and cook till aromatic, but not burnt.

Add in shrimps and most of the chopped parsley, only save some for garnish in the end. Also add in all the chopped fennel leaves. Give it a quick stir-fry. Cook till the shrimp just about cooked through. Pick out everything and set aside for later use.

Shrimp with chopped parsley and fennel leaves

Still using the same pan or pot, add 2 more tablespoons of butter. This time switch to medium heat. Once melted, add 2 tablespoons of flour and whisk till combined and starts turning into golden crumbs. 

Making a roux for garlic shrimp pasta bake

Pour in chicken stock first, whisk till blended. 

Making a roux and whisking with chicken stock

Pour in milk, whisk till combined.

Transfer diced tomatoes along with 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Bring the whole thing to a simmer, don't let it starts to boil.

Adding chopped tomatoes to white sauce

Add in about 2/3 of the shredded cheese mix, mine consist of Mozzarella, Cheddar, and Provolone. Wait till slightly melted.

Adding shredded cheese mix to white sauce

Pour in cooked pasta and give it a few tosses. Transfer the shrimp back and mix till combined. Taste and see if need more salt here. It varies depending on the cheese used. So adjust the flavor accordingly.

Scoop the pasta to the baking dish. Top with remaining cheese mix.

Adding cheese mix to garlic shrimp pasta bake

Into the oven for about 8 minutes, plus or minus 2 minutes. Just keep an close eye to it, the pasta is ready when the top turns slightly browned or golden.

Remove from heat and garnish with the chopped parsley we saved earlier.

Garlic shrimp pasta bake

Still happy belly without the scallops and crab meat, perhaps saving these two for a date night in the future. 

Garlic shrimp pasta bake

This leads to my memory, when I was back in CA, the price for scallops was at least acceptable. And these were big scallops that can't be tackled easily in one mouthful. If I'm going to find comparable scallops in Taiwan...I think I'll just stand there and gag at the price tags.

Other pasta recipes:

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