Recipe: Shrimp and Broccoli Pasta

By on

Spicy for You, Bland for the Kids

Todd and I like our meals to pack a lot of punch: they should be healthy, fresh and flavorful. The spices we like aren’t always palatable to the kids, so I’ve gotten in the habit of making two versions of each dish. While I think it’s great to introduce children to intense flavors, nutrition is the main goal. If they’ll reject a spicy plate but happily eat the same meal without spices, we’ll serve the latter.

Making two meals in one has become a habit, now. I mentioned it to my neighbor, who asked if I would be interested in teaching a cooking class at the house, but I never found the time to pull it together. Instead, I’ll offer my 2-in-1 recipes here, starting with Shrimp and Broccoli Pasta.
















On the left, a bowl of spaghetti is topped with steamed broccoli and pan-grilled shrimp, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with parmesan. On the right, the ingredients are almost the same, except the shrimp was tossed with spicy arrabbiata sauce (from the jar) and chili pepper paste.

I begin by bringing a pot of water to boil to cook a whole box of pasta. As the water heats, I wash and cut up a head or two of broccoli and place it is a pot with 3/4 inch of water on the bottom. I heat olive oil in a large frying pan, adding garlic and 1.5 lbs of peeled, deveined shrimp as soon as the pasta goes into the boiling water.

blended family recipe













The moment the shrimp are cooked, I remove them from the pan and place them in a bowl on the side. The pasta is almost finished cooking, so it’s time to cook the broccoli (lid atop pot). As the broccoli water heats, I add a touch of olive oil and garlic to the empty frying pan (burner was never turned off) and then squeeze in a healthy dose of chili pepper paste. After I’ve stirred it up, I pour in a jar of arrabbiata sauce and stir some more.

blended family recipe













It’s time to strain the pasta and remove the broccoli from the stove. Overcooked broccoli is broccoli might be appealing to those who are used to it, but there are more nutrients in cooked broccoli that is still slightly firm. (Raw is best, but not in this recipe.) At the last minute, place half the shrimp in the arrabbiata sauce and stir it up.

Prepare the kid dishes with the sauceless ingredients, and the grown-ups get the really good saucy stuff.

Do you have a good 2-in-1 recipe that you concocted or found online? Please share in the comments below!

BBF bioSarah Kinbar is co-founder of Big Blended Family, Inc. She’s a proud blended family mom, and has two kids and two stepkids. She works at a flower shop and also freelances as a writer and editor.



  1. Dorothy Deakyne

    July 18, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    this looks great, can’t wait to try this pasta recipe

  2. Maria Iemma

    July 19, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    This recipe sounds delicious – I love shrimp and yes, I love broccoli too. Simple dinner for a busy Friday night.