Mildly spicy and wonderfully creamy, this cajun shrimp pasta is a delicious and flavorful restaurant-quality pasta dish to whip up, ready in a flash!
Cajun Shrimp Pasta, a Little Spicy, a Little Creamy
I'm definitely a sucker for a spicy pasta dish, and utterly love a spicy pasta dish topped with spicy shrimp!
So when I got a hankering to create a new rich and delicious fettuccine pasta recipe recently, I imagined it nice and slick with a creamy roasted red pepper and tomato sauce, and intertwined with some creole-seasoned cajun shrimp, seared and slightly blackened in a hot cast-iron skillet.
The thought of that made my mouth water!
So I got to cookin', and came up with this delicious and easy cajun shrimp pasta dish with just enough “kick” that you can taste it, but not enough to knock your socks off.
This pasta recipe is a little bit spicy and a little creamy, with that wonderful balance between savory and a hint of sweet!
How to Make Cajun Shrimp Pasta with Only a Few Tasty Ingredients
I love it when the list of ingredients for a pasta recipe isn't a mile long. When the ingredients are full of flavor and pack a good punch, you don't need too many!
Naturally, shrimp is the star ingredient in this cajun shrimp pasta recipe, and I like to use medium, peeled and deveined shrimp for convenience.
- I sprinkle on a delicious and smoky-spicy creole seasoning blend, and let that absorb into the shrimp for a few minutes before searing in a hot cast iron.
- I prepare my creamy roasted red pepper sauce in the same pan I sauteed the shrimp for extra flavor. For this deep, rich flavorful sauce, I dice up some roasted red peppers out of a jar, along with some onion and some garlic and saute those together in the pan. Then I add in some crushed tomatoes, a touch of chicken broth and the heavy cream, and simmer those together for a few minutes until just slightly thickened.
- As for the pasta, I like to use fettuccine for this recipe, because it's a bit wider and a bit heartier, and stands up to the lightly creamy sauce and shrimp.
- Everything gets added back into the pan and tossed together just until combined allowing the flavors to mingle. I finish with a little flourish of fresh chopped parsley.
If you're a lover of mildly spicy pasta and of creole-style cajun shrimp, then this cajun shrimp pasta is definitely one for your recipe box!
Tips & Tidbits for Cajun Shrimp Pasta:
- Peeled and de-veined shrimp for ease: I buy fresh shrimp (or frozen shrimp, and thaw it myself) which has been peeled and de-veined and is medium-size (16/20 count). I love not having to peel it myself, and it saves a lot of time!
- Choice of pasta: Fettuccine pasta is my personal favorite for this type of dish, but you can also use linguine, spaghetti, bucatini, penne, or even farfalle (bow-ties).
- Cream or half and half: While there isn't a huge amount cream in this recipe, if you're trying to keep things even lighter, you can substitute half & half for the cream. The cream will have a bit more “body” and a touch more richness, but half and half is a fine option as well.
- Heavy bottom pan: A large heavy-bottom pan such as a cast-iron skillet is perfect for this recipe, as you want a nice “blackened” sear or crust on the shrimp. You'll cook your sauce in that same pan, and add back in the pasta and toss everything together before serving.
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
Cajun Shrimp Pasta
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
• 10 ounces uncooked fettuccine
• 1 pound medium peeled and deveined shrimp (16/20 count)
• Avocado oil
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt-free cajun creole seasoning
• 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
• Pinch cayenne pepper (optional, add if you like more “heat”)
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 1 small onion, finely diced
• 1/2 cup (about 4 ounces by weight) finely diced roasted red peppers from a jar
• 6 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• Pinch red pepper flakes (optional, add if you like more “heat”)
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 1 (14.5 ounce / 411 gram) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
• 3/4 cup chicken broth
• 3/4 cup heavy cream
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
-Cook the fettuccine according to the package instructions, and keep warm.
-Add the shrimp to a bowl, and drizzle in about 1 tablespoon of avocado oil, and sprinkle in the cajun creole seasoning, the granulated garlic, and a pinch or two of cayenne pepper, if using; toss to coat.
-Place a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of the avocado oil; once hot, add the shrimp and sear it on the first side until golden-brown and crusty, about 2 minutes; flip and sear a minute or so more, until crusty on the other side; remove from the skillet and set aside.
-To that same skillet add in the butter plus another small drizzle of the avocado oil if needed, and add in the diced onion along with the diced roasted red peppers, and stir; saute together for about 2-3 minutes, until softened and slightly golden.
-Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using), along with the tomato paste, and cook for about 30 seconds or just until aromatic. (I even like to sprinkle in an extra dash of the cajun creole seasoning that I used on the shrimp at this point as well.)
-Add in the crushed tomatoes, the chicken broth and the heavy cream and stir to incorporate, and allow the sauce to gently simmer for about 2-3 minutes just to slightly thicken; then give it a little taste to see if any additional salt is needed.
-Add the cooked fettuccine into the sauce, along with about half of the shrimp plus about half of the chopped parsley, and gently toss to combine.
-If serving directly from the skillet, top with the rest of the shrimp and the parsley, and serve "family style". Or, pour the pasta into a serving dish or platter, and then top with the rest of the shrimp and sprinkle over the rest of the chopped parsley.