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If I were to describe this Cajun shrimp pasta recipe in just a few words, it would definitely be deliciously creamy with the perfect amount of spice. Shrimp pasta dishes are always a favorite of mine, and this one did not disappoint.
Creamy pasta recipes can be a bit bland but not this one. Cajun shrimp pasta is smokey and spicy but this is perfectly balanced with cream and Parmesan cheese. Not too spicy, not bland. Perfect and easy to make Cajun shrimp pasta!
INGREDIENTS FOR CREAMY CAJUN SHRIMP PASTA
- Shrimp: I prefer to use fresh shrimp rather than frozen ones. Frozen shrimp, for me, are lacking a little bit in flavor and the texture is not the same as the firm, plump texture of fresh shrimp. So I always try to buy them fresh. You can certainly use frozen ones if this is more convenient for you. Before adding the herbs and spices, pat them dry to the marinade can stick better to them.
- Butter: Salted or unsalted butter can be used and is preferred over olive oil to make the sauce because it imparts a creamier flavor.
- Olive oil: Just a bit of olive oil is used to marinate the shrimp and help herbs and spices stick to them. It is also helpful for searing them.
- Freshly minced garlic: Nothing beats the shrimp and garlic combo. To me, adding garlic to sauteed shrimp is always a must.
- Heavy cream: Heavy or whipping cream has the perfect consistency for this dish. It is responsible for the creamy texture and essential to bring the spice down a notch.
- White wine: Dry white wine like Pinot Grigio is my first choice.
- Lemon juice: Like in all shrimp dishes, to me just a touch of lemon juice gives it perfect balance. It really enhances the flavor of shrimp.
- Herbs and spices: Cajun seasoning of course is the star of the show, garlic powder to season the shrimp, red pepper flakes for a bit of extra kick, paprika, and dry oregano to finish it off. Salt and pepper too, of course.
- Roma tomato: Just one diced tomato for flavor and color.
- Long pasta: I love mine with fettuccine just because I think the sauce adheres perfectly to its flat surface, but you can use the pasta shape of your choice.
- Fresh parsley: Is like the cherry on top. It finishes the dish not only making it look more appealing, but I also love the flavor.
- Grated Parmesan cheese: If you can grate it yourself that’s the best, but can certainly use store bought grated cheese. It makes the sauce creamier and adds tons of flavor.
HOW TO MAKE EASY CREAMY CAJUN SHRIMP PASTA
1. Start by boiling a large pot of salted water to cook the pasta in and have all your ingredients at hand. The sauce comes together in no time, so have everything ready.
2. Boil the pasta according to package instructions.
3. Pat dry the fresh (or thawed) shrimp and add olive oil, cajun seasoning, minced garlic, garlic powder, oregano, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Mix well until all the shrimp are well coated.
4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and sear the shrimp for a couple of minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
5. Add butter to the same skillet and saute minced garlic for one minute. Pour in the white wine, scrape the bottom of the skillet, and simmer until reduced by half.
6. Mix in the heavy cream, add one teaspoon of cajun seasoning and simmer for 5 minutes.
7. Reserve one cup of pasta cooking water and drain the pasta. Set aside.
8. Return the cooked shrimp to the skillet with the cream sauce, add the lemon juice and cook until the shrimp are heated through, about one minute.
9. Toss the cooked pasta into the sauce and add Parmesan cheese and freshly chopped parsley.
HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT CREAMY PASTA SAUCE
This is accomplished by simmering the sauce and reducing it until the desired consistency is achieved. Always remember that cream sauces become thicker as they cool down, so you need to reserve a bit of pasta cooking water if you need to use it as a thinner. Also, the sauce will get thicker when Parmesan cheese is added, so take that into account.
CAN CREAMY CAJUN SHRIMP PASTA BE MADE AHEAD OF TIME?
I would not recommend you doing this. This dish really comes together very quickly and as pasta gets colder, it can become quite stiff, and the sauce too thick.
If you need to store any leftovers, you certainly can, but always remember to add a bit of milk when reheating them to make the sauce thinner. Do not keep it for more than a couple of days in the fridge. Creamy pasta dishes do not freeze well. Also, please do not overcook shrimp. You want shrimp to have a snappy bite to them and if you overcook them, they become mushy and grainy.
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- 1 lb long pasta such as fettuccine or spaghetti
- 1 lb large peeled and deveined shrimp
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 ½ tablespoons Cajun seasoning, divided
- 2 garlic cloves, minced and divided
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 Roma tomato, diced
- ½ cup pasta cooking water
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Boil a large pot of salted water and prepare all your ingredients.
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
- Pat dry the shrimp, place them in a bowl and add one minced garlic, ½ tablespoon Cajun seasoning, paprika, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and oregano.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and sear the shrimp for a couple of minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- In the same skillet, melt the butter and saute the remaining minced garlic clove for one minute. Deglaze the skillet with white wine, scraping the bottom. Simmer until reduced by half.
- Pour in the heavy cream, and add the diced Roma tomato and remaining one tablespoon of Cajun seasoning. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Return the cooked shrimp to the skillet and cook until heated through, about one minute.
- Reserve 1⁄2 cup of pasta cooking water, drain the pasta and add it into the skillet. Finish with freshly chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese. Toss everything until well combined.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 859Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 333mgSodium: 2670mgCarbohydrates: 72gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 43g