Shrimp & Pepperoni Marinara & Creamy Polenta

My Fireman works in 24 hour shifts, leaving me at home to figure something out for dinner on my own.  Most nights I’m pretty good about getting something rounded and wholesome — most of the time I cook extra of the meals I make for he and I, allowing for leftovers.  And, when all else fails, I leave it to cereal and milk on nights I’m solo.  
Last night I was sad to be looking in my fridge, bare of all leftovers, nixing the possibility to heat something up. What can I make.. I really don’t want cereal.. Vegetable, carbs, and protein.  Tomato sauce.. whole wheat pasta.. shrimp.. done, and done.  So, I worked this recipe out in my brain as I went.   
I accidentally pulled out some sliced pepperoni when I was reaching for the fresh basil- and it sat in front of me as I was prepping the veggies for my pasta.  How yummy would that be, I thought.  So, I added another layer of flavor to this (basically) one pot meal.
The building of my tomato sauce continues.  Slightly carmelized onions and garlic paired together creates the most amazing smell in the entire world. If there were a candle in this flavor, I would buy it. 
Well, I would probably buy it. 
Easy addition to my tomato sauce- takes to simmer work out of the homemade variety- although, the homemade version is super delicious.  Feel free to use you own.  But not for me on this night. Top Chef was coming on, and I didn’t have 55 minutes to wait. 
Thawed frozen uncooked shrimp to the rescue! I got the E-Z peel shrimp that still has the tails and shell on- much cheaper than the already peeled and deviened.  Worth it to me to spend the extra 5 minutes of prep.
5 minutes is all the simmer time you need.  You might need 6.. but I simmered for just 5.
Sprinkle in your fresh herbs.  For the best flavor, always add fresh herbs at the end of cooking and dried herbs at the beginning.  You run the risk of over cooking/burning the fresh herbs if they are added too early.
By the time my marinara was finished (all of 20 minutes), I wasn’t really interested in making the pasta anymore.  Mainly because sitting next to the pasta was a new bag of instant polenta that caught my eye- and tweaked the fancy of my taste buds.  I always have the instant variety for last minute taste changes when I’m cooking up a saucy dish like this one. 
I folded in some reduced fat cream cheese, stirring out the lumps until creamy.  I was lucky to get this picture without bubbling polenta burns on my forearms.  You’re welcome :)
Plate’er up!  Garnish with additional fresh basil, if desired.  Makes for a prettier presentation, in my own opinion. 

Excuse me while I sample a taste.

Shrimp & Pepperoni Marinara
over Creamy Polenta
Shrimp & Pepperoni Marinara
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
½ of a large yellow onion, diced
1 (15 ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
3 ounces turkey pepperoni, coarsely chopped (such as Boar’s Head)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano  
1 ½ cups jarred tomato basil pasta sauce (lower sodium if available)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (more or less for desired heat)
1 pound medium size uncooked shrimp
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
Creamy Polenta
1 cup 2% milk
2 cups lower sodium chicken broth
¾ cup instant polenta
1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3 less fat cream cheese
¼ cup (2 ounces) shredded parmesan cheese
Shrimp Marinara
Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray, add oil. Add onion and sauté until translucent.   Add in garlic- cook for about 30 seconds, stirring consistently as to prevent burning of the garlic.  Add in fire-roasted tomatoes and pepperoni; cook 2 minutes or until garlic and onion is fragrant begins to brown, stirring frequently. Add red and black peppers and marinara sauce; bring to a boil. Fold in shrimp, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in basil and oregano; cook 30 seconds.  Keep warm.
Bring milk and chicken broth to a simmer in a saucepan. Whisk in polenta. Cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Stir in cream cheese until melted.  Stir in shaved parmesan.  Serve warm marinara over polenta.
Nutrition Information
Serves 4 (3/4 cup polenta and 1 1/2 cups shrimp mixture)
Calories: 439
Fat: 13 g
Carbogydrate: 42 g
Fiber: 6 g
Protein: 36 g


  1. SkinnyMommy says:

    Looks great-love the addition of the polenta!

Leave a Comment