Maddy Douglass

Knitter, lawyer, and safer beauty advocate in San Francisco. 

Loves coffee, crafting, and cheese plates.  


Cavatappi with Shrimp & Creamy Tomato Sauce

Cavatappi with Shrimp & Creamy Tomato Sauce

We're taking a break from our regularly scheduled travelog programming (our ladies trip to Los Angeles) for a recipe post! I've always loved (loooooved. LOOOOOVED!) seafood, but I have been a bit of a cautious cook when it comes to all things meat, poultry, or crustacean.

I'm alright with salmon, and I feel pretty comfortable frying up some swordfish in a pan, but anything else makes me a bit nervous as to the proper cooking methods to not get a weird, uncomfortable, under-cooked-food disease.


Until this summer, that is. Suddenly it's like I've become completely food fearless: ground beef in everything, please! Shrimp up my lifestyle! Let's add paprika and pink peppercorns and some balsamic reduction!

This particular dish is a mix of my two favorite things: seafood and comfort food. Yes, I realize those are like apples and pomegranates - seemingly related, but two entirely different categories.

But that's the beauty of this recipe! The cream adds a warm, satisfying finish to the rest of the meal, while the shrimp makes you feel like a top tier chef in your own respectable-yet-appropriately-small-for-your-age-range kitchen.

(Hint: shrimp is the easiest fake-fancy seafood to start with. I'm planning to tackle mussels sometime later this summer.)

Come on in for the rest of the post!


1 lb shrimp, 1 lb pasta of your choice, 1/2 white onion, 4-5 garlic cloves, 8 oz tomato sauce, 8 oz heavy cream, 8 oz white wine, red pepper flakes and spices

Step 1: Wash your shrimps. It's also more fun if you start calling them "shrimpies" or "SHRAMPS" and dance them towards each other in the air. Try not to flick uncooked seafood juice around your kitchen because that's... gross.


Step 2: Pat them dry on a paper towel, and then drop them into a pan over medium-heat with a glug or two of olive oil, or butter (depending on which you prefer.)


Cook these little guys for a few minutes until they're pink on one side and opaque through the middle.


Flip and cook on the other side for an additional 3-4 minutes, until they're pink through and through. Try not to overcook them - it's best if you can be actively standing there, stirring, until they're done. You can also take them off the heat and let them rest a bit to make sure they don't get rubbery.


Step 3: Start cooking your pasta water.


Step 4: Chop a yellow or white onion and several cloves of garlic (this is to taste - in my world, the more garlic the better) and sautée over medium-low heat until the garlic is fragrant and the onions are translucent. This may also require some patient stirring to ensure nothing burns.


Step 5: When the onions and garlic are done, add a cup (or so) of any white wine and reduce for several minutes by simmering.


Step 6: While the pasta is cooking and the sauce is simmering, gently but quickly remove the skins and little feet from the shrimp and cut them in half.


Step 7: Add 8-10 ounces of tomato sauce to the wine-onion-garlic reduction.


Step 8: Add one cup heavy cream. This could probably be done with half and half, or 1/2-3/4 cups heavy cream instead, but sometimes you just want to go for it.


Step 9: Add the shrimp pieces, and stir together.


Step 10: Once your pasta has been drained, add to the sauce. Did I mention you should do all of this in a deep pan? You should pick a deep pan. Lots of stirring.


Step 11: Season with salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, and a dash of cinnamon for good measure.


Serve alone or with an easy side salad of butter lettuce with olive oil, white vinegar, and salt and pepper.


This sauce would be just as delicious over a bed of steamed broccolini, or some blanched asparagus, if you're trying the low-carb thing. Although, to be honest, I prefer it with the pasta - if you're going to be indulgent, you may as well just do it. That's what gyms and calorie counters are for. It's all about balance.

(...says the girl who has not been running in months. I don't eat like this all the time!)

Oh, and, don't forget to make extra for your work lunches. The shrimp is covered by the tomato sauce, so your coworkers won't get mad if you reheat this in the communal micro. I've got you covered.

Speaking of little animals, have you guys tried this Pokemon game? I have to admit, I'm hooked!

Works in Progress: vol. 1

Works in Progress: vol. 1

Going nuts for Sqirl: Los Angeles, day 2

Going nuts for Sqirl: Los Angeles, day 2