pasta a la betsy

Cheap Date Idea: Penne a la Betsy

Here’s the thing: date nights can get unnecessarily expensive. Think about it: the booze, the appetizers, the entrees, dessert. And that’s just dinner. I don’t know about you, but we’re saving to buy a house. I cry over my dollar bills when I exchange them for a glass of wine more expensive than the bottle I have sitting at home. Don’t judge, I like cheap wine.

But date night is still important even 6.5 years into our marriage. It’s easy to fall into routines. It’s even easier to fall into the exhaustion trap (question: are our thirties for the exhaustion because holy cow). But it’s hard to commit $100+ for a meal with a guy I know is going to take me home at the end of the night (that’s right, I said it).

We love Italian food, but buying an Italian entree at a restaurant makes me cringe a little. Delicious or not, those little nuggets of dough get dang expensive. But nothing says romance like a glass of wine and some delicious pasta. Am I right?

So Sunday night, I turned on the tunes and whipped my man up a delicious pasta dish that cost less than $15 to make.

cheap date penne a la betsy

This is where The Pioneer Woman steps in. Confession: I’ve never made one of her dishes. Double confession: I saved this recipe from a little video tutorial that Whitney posted on Facebook a million years ago.

Penne a la Betsy a la The Pioneer Woman


  • 1 lb Penne cooked Al Dente
  • 1 lb Shrimp peeled & deveined
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic: minced
  • 3/4 cup white wine (1 3/4 if you want to drink a glass ;))
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Basil leaves (I left these out)

What to do:

  • Heat butter and oil in pan on medium or medium high heat. Add shrimp and cook until pink (a couple minutes). Remove them from the pan and let them cool for a minute. I used small shrimp, but I still cut them into smaller pieces. Set them aside.
  • In the same pan, add the onion and garlic and sauté for three minutes. Pour in the wine and let it reduce for a few minutes. You can use chicken or seafood broth if you’d prefer not to use wine.
  • Add the tomato sauce and stir until combined. Cook for 3 minutes then stir in the heavy cream. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the shrimp and reduce the heat. Let simmer for a few minutes.
  • Stir in pasta, add basil if you prefer, and top with parmesan cheese if you’d like!

Finally, serve with wine over candle light, and you’ve got yourself a pretty swanky at home date night on the cheap!

Pin and share for an easy, cheap at home date night!

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  1. Leslie

    November 1, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Ahh this looks delicious! I’ll have to try it out for our next at home date night 🙂

  2. Carly

    November 1, 2016 at 10:26 am

    This sounds like such a good dish and I love how inexpensive pasta is to have at home, plus it’s always so satisfying!

  3. kristen

    November 2, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    sold to the lady telling me to eat pasta. haha. yum!
    cheap wine is the only wine in my opinion! lol. but seriously, we rarely go on date nights and we never go to ‘proper’ restaurants because we’re like hmm $50 or more at a restaurant (this is Louisville so thankfully not too expensive) or $20 at qdoba… or hey, lets grab a frozen pizza for $5. you know? and then the exhaustion. for reals. i’m not 30 yet so i hope it’s not going to get worse. hahaha!

  4. Whitney

    January 3, 2017 at 9:30 am

    yum yum yum! I can’t believe I never saw this post but yes it’s one of my FAVORITE recipes ever. So glad you love it!

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