I was compensated by Barilla with money, and lots of pasta, to develop this recipe. But just so you know, I love this product and feed it to my family at least two times a week. So working with them was a dream – Abby

I originally came across Barilla Pronto pasta at the grocery store. It seemed like a great idea – pasta that cooks in a fraction of the time, no boiling water first, no messy draining. While I hesitated for a bit before putting it into my cart, I immediately fell in love with this product when I brought it home and made it for dinner. Like, in 10 minutes.

Many of you know how great this is because you too have kids who are starving and begging for dinner right when you get home, and you’re scrambling to get even leftovers heated up. Pronto is the easiest – just put it into a skillet with water, bring to a boil, then once the liquid is boiled away, add sauce or whatever you want.

Boom, dinner is served.

Even better, it saves my hide one morning at least 2 mornings a week when my kids ask for a hot lunch at 8:10am: that’s 30 minutes before we need to be out the door. I make the Pronto, fill their thermoses, and we get to school with time to spare. Pronto tastes exactly like normal pasta that you boil, but amazingly you get to skip that step.

When Barilla approached me to develop a holiday entertaining recipe using Pronto, of course I was excited! Now I can share my love of Barilla Pronto with all of you, and introduce you to the easiest, most delicious pasta dish you could feed your guests (or yourself, because yum).

When developing this holiday pasta recipe, I wanted to follow the Italian tradition of the ‘Feast Of The Seven Fishes’, which is a seafood meal on Christmas Eve. Also, the holidays are usually so meat-heavy, so I thought that throwing some shrimp in there would mix things up in a good way.



To make this dish, I cooked the Pronto not only in water, but also in chicken broth, which gives the dish extra flavor. The addition of broth increases the boiling point of the water though, which is why I added a bit of extra liquid to the directions on the box. I used penne in this recipe because it’s heartier than spaghetti and can take the extra cooking time. Pronto rotini would also work great!

The best thing about this recipe, besides the fact that it tastes like heaven, is that it’s made in ONE POT. Yes. All in one pot!!! And it’s ready in 30 minutes! What Christmas miracle is this!?


Barilla Pronto is made to be ready to eat in just 10 minutes, but this extra-fancy recipe takes a bit longer because of the broth I used (as I mentioned above). Still, 30 minutes for a one-pot meal fit for company is awesome, if I do say so myself!


The cream thickens upon standing, so serve this dish immediately for the best results. Happy Holidays!


Serves 6-8


2 boxes Barilla Pronto penne or rotini

1.5 pound of shrimp, uncooked and peeled

4 cups chicken broth

3 cups water


2 cups chopped onion about 2 small or 1 large

3T chopped garlic about 3-5 cloves

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

½ cup 18% cream

2 large pinches saffron

1.5 t stripped fresh thyme

1 pint whole cherry tomatoes

1-2T olive oil

1T butter

Black pepper to taste


In a deep skillet or pan, sauté the onion in the olive oil until translucent and fragrant. Add the garlic, thyme, and saffron and cook for another 30-60 seconds until the garlic is slightly browned.

Add the pasta, broth, and water to the pan and using high heat, bring to a simmer, stirring often.

Once the liquid is simmering, add the shrimps and continue to cook until boiling.

Boil the pasta, still stirring often, until the water is almost completely absorbed, then add the cherry tomatoes, cream, parmesan, and butter, stirring to completely incorporate.

Take the pasta off the heat and serve with black pepper to taste, and more parmesan on the side.