This delicious cajun shrimp and pasta dish is the best pasta meal you’ll ever have, and it’s done in under half an hour! Made of pasta with butter and shrimp inside a creamy cajun sauce, this easy shrimp and pasta meal is perfect not just for hectic weekday evenings, but also for a special supper.
Cajun flavoring adds a spicy kick to this creamy shrimp pasta. Delicious large shrimp are thrown in a spicy cajun flavor and served in a velvety sauce with pasta. What more could you ask for in a pasta recipe?
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Why You’ll Love Cajun Shrimp and Pasta Recipe
This cajun shrimp and pasta recipe is packed with flavor in both the shrimp and cajun cream sauce. The sauce is super easy to make, and is essentially a kicked up alfredo sauce. I promise you’ll be begging for seconds.
I use linguine, but you can use whatever pasta you like best. The sky's the limit!
When I cook my pasta, I cook it past al dente. I don’t like to have a firm bite with my pasta, but you can cook the pasta to your liking.
Ingredients Of Cajun Shrimp and Pasta:
To prepare cajun shrimp and pasta, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Linguine - As noted, I use linguine, but you can use whatever pasta you have on hand.
- Canola oil - This is used to sauté the shrimp to perfection.
- Raw shrimp - I recommend using raw shrimp instead of cooked shrimp, because heating cooked shrimp can leave you with a rubbery texture.
- Cajun seasoning - For this recipe, you make your own blend instead of buying premade cajun seasoning that won’t give you the same flavor.
- Butter - Butter serves as the foundation for the cream sauce in this recipe.
- Heavy cream - Heavy cream gives the sauce a creamy consistency and rich flavor.
- Parmesan cheese - I recommend purchasing parmesan cheese as a brick and shredding it yourself. In pre-grated packages, anti-cake chemicals are sometimes added and this keeps it from clinging, which we definitely want in this pasta dish.
- Parsley - Garnish your pasta with freshly chopped parsley to taste.
Special Equipment For Cajun Shrimp and Pasta:
To make Cajun Shrimp and Pasta recipe, you’ll need:
Using a skillet gives this recipe extra flavor and dynamite texture. It’s the perfect way to cook these meats and will really elevate your sauce.
You’ll use these two tools to grind your spices.
There are other ways to grind your spices, like using a food processor or a spice grinder, but I prefer to use a mortar and pestle because it gives me more control. I can see when the spices are at a certain texture and decide whether I want to continue grinding or not.
If you don’t want to grind your spices while you’re making the recipe, you can do so ahead of time and store them as you would your other spices until you are ready to use them.
How to Make Cajun Shrimp and Pasta Recipe
Start by making your sauce:
- Grind your spices first, or use what you have already ground.
- Next, melt your butter in a pan, then add all your dry seasonings to bloom them. You’ll sauté until they’re fragrant, which takes about 30 seconds.
- Next you’ll add tomato paste, then chicken stock, and stir until they are combined. After that, add your heavy cream. You’ll notice the color of the sauce will become much lighter.
- Then you’ll add parmesan cheese and stir until it’s melted.
- Continue stirring for about 10 minutes while it simmers. Then add parsley and remove from heat.
*Side note: The parmesan will thicken the sauce as it cools. If you are worried that the sauce is too thin, then whisk in a tablesppon of flour and cook until it gets UNDER your desired consistency. Remember, it will thicken as it cools.
Then cook the pasta:
- After making the sauce , cook your pasta according to package instructions. I recommend either starting to boil water while your sauce is simmering and cooking the noodles while you cook your shrimp, or boiling your water while you’re cooking your sauce and cooking the pasta while the sauce summers. Either way you won’t have to spend extra time just waiting for your pasta to cook.
Time for the shrimp:
- After you’ve cooked your pasta, season and cook your shrimp.
- Melt your butter in a skillet and add canola oil.
- Cook your shrimp for about one minute on each side. Too long and it’ll taste rubbery.
- Lastly you will combine your three parts together. Put the pasta and sauce in the sauce and thoroughly toss so that the sauce has coded all of the food. Save a little bit of pasta water in case you want to thin down your sauce a bit.
What to Serve with Your Cajun Shrimp and Pasta:
This dish is already pretty heavy, so I suggest serving something a little lighter to balance:
- Salad - A side salad is great with any dish, but especially ones you want to make a little lighter. You can follow a salad recipe, or just make your own with your favorite greens and vegetables.
- Roasted veggies - Roasted veggies are another great way to get more nutrients while having a light side. You can roast just about any vegetable with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and it’ll be a great side to this pasta.
Substitutions for this Cajun Shrimp and Pasta:
- Noodles - If you’d prefer gluten-free noodles, go ahead and use them. You can use gluten-free linguine that you find at the store.
- Canola oil - You can also substitute for canola oil if you’d wish. Sunflower oil is a great alternative because it has a similar smoke point, but olive oil, avocado oil, and other oils will work, too.
- Meat - You can use tofu instead of meat, or just make this meatless.
- Butter - You can use plant-based butter instead of regular butter.
- Heavy cream - There are dairy-free heavy creams that you can purchase at the store, or you can make your own. You can also use coconut cream in lieu of heavy cream.
- Parmesan cheese - Feel free to use a dairy-free parmesan cheese substitute if you want to make this a vegan recipe.
Variations Of Cajun Shrimp and Pasta:
- Noodles - As noted, you can use whatever noodles you want. They don’t have to be linguine; fettuccine, spaghetti, or angel hair, or bucatini will all work, as well.
- Spicier - If you’d like this to be even spicier, use more smoked paprika and cayenne pepper. There’s already quite a bit of space, but those would be the ingredients to increase if you want even more heat. You could also add some red pepper flakes.
- Meat - If you don’t have shrimp, you can use prawns instead. Prawns tend to be a little bigger than shrimp, so you may need to cook them for a little bit longer, or cut them to make the recipe more similar to the original.
Top Tips For Cajun Shrimp and Pasta:
- Buy raw shrimp that has been peeled and deveined. Let somebody else do the time-consuming work for you.
- As mentioned earlier, I use a mortar and pestle to grind the time, oregano, and basil. You can also use a spice grinder. I grind them myself because I usually can’t find them already ground, plus then I’m able to grind them to my preference, whether it be coarse, fine, or somewhere in between.
- Add salt at the end ½ teaspoon at a time because there will be salt in the stock and cheese with the sodium amounts varying between the brands. Adding salt a little at a time will give you more control over the flavor.
- Sauté the spices before incorporating the ingredients to the cream sauce to increase the depth of flavor. You often see this done in Indian cuisine and it will work here, too.
- I use habanero powder in this recipe. If you can’t find it in stores you can get it on Amazon.
FAQs Of Cajun Shrimp and Pasta:
Can you freeze Cajun Shrimp and Pasta recipe?
Yes, you can freeze this Cajun Shrimp and Pasta recipe. Shrimp and pasta stay good in the freezer for up to three months, so make sure you use it up within that time. However, it is going to taste the best if you eat it right after you’ve made it. If you do freeze this pasta dish, make sure it is in an airtight container with as much air removed as possible.
Do not freeze any fresh herbs with the dish, though. If you want to top it with fresh parsley or basil, wait to do that until right before you are going to eat it.
How do I thaw it?
You can reheat this recipe by putting it back on the stove top, or even by putting it in the oven. You could also reheat it in the microwave or toaster oven, or try popping it in the warming drawer.
How long will it last in the fridge?
This will last in the refrigerator for up to four days. I recommend eating it within that amount of time so that the flavor and texture do not suffer any.
Other Recipes You’ll Love
- Karaage Chicken Tenders - For a tasty tender twist, try these Karaage Chicken Tenders. They’re crispy yet juicy, and they have a stellar flavor.
- Peach Cobbler - If you still have room after finishing your cajun pasta, try this peach cobbler recipe. It’s fantastic with a side of ice cream, and it’ll have you and all your guests reaching for seconds.
- Make sure you’ve cooked your shrimp to an internal temperature of 120°F.
- Don’t leave food sitting out for too long. If it is left at room temperature for more than two hours, it can become full of bacteria and contaminate you if you eat it.
- Make sure you wash your hands and any tools or surfaces that have touched raw meat after handling it. You did not want to cross contaminate.
Easy Cajun Shrimp and Pasta with Creamy Cajun Sauce Recipe
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 20 min
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Dinners
For Making the Shrimp:
2 lbs large raw shrimp
2 teaspoon salt
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup canola oil
For Making the Cajun Cream Sauce:
2 cups heavy cream
¼ cup chicken stock
1 ½ cups freshly grated parmesan
4 tbs tomato paste
3 tsp garlic powder
1 ½ tsp salt
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
3 tsp onion powder
¼ teaspoon habanero powder
1 tbs chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
4 tbs butter
1 lb box linguine
Preparing the shrimp:
- Grind oregano, thyme, and basil.
- Add ground oregano, thyme, and basil to other seasonings.
- Coat shrimp with seasoning.
- Add canola oil to skillet over medium high heat.
- Season shrimp.
- Add shrimp to skillet over medium high heat.
- Cook for about 1-2 minutes per side.
- Remove from skillet and set aside.
Preparing the Cajun Cream Sauce:
1. Grind oregano, basil, and thyme.
2. Add butter to pan and melt over medium heat.
3. Add all dried seasonings and sauté until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
4. Add chicken stock and stir.
5. Add tomato paste and stir until combined.
6. Add heavy cream.
7. Add grated parmesan and stir until all cheese has been melted.
8. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
9. Cover and set aside.
10. Cook pasta according to package directions.
11. Drain pasta and add back to pot.
12. Add Cajun cream sauce, shrimp and combine.
13. Garnish with chopped parsley or basil.
14. Serve and enjoy!
Keywords: cajun shrimp and pasta