Sunday, March 1, 2020

Cajun Shrimp Pasta

Cajun Shrimp Pasta is a quick and easy recipe to make, and it is bursting with juicy shrimp and crisp-tender veggies smothered in a Parmesan Cajun sauce!

When I stare at a restaurant menu, it’s the creamy, comforting pastas that always jump off the page – they start waving, then screaming my name.

I more often than not end up with comfortlicious Cajun Shrimp Pasta.  The plump and juicy shrimp and creamy sauce – they just get me.

And now you can make this better than restaurant version in your slippers!

This cravilicious Cajun Shrimp Pasta is uber quick to prepare with hardly any effort.  You can completely customize the heat, veggies and even swap the shrimp for chicken making it a fabulous last minute dinner that tastes totally gourmet.

If you need another easy dinner, be sure to check out my 15 minute One Pan Lemon Butter Garlic Shrimp and Asparagus recipe.

Now let’s get started!

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Helpful Tips to make Cajun Shrimp Pasta :

  • I suggest medium uncooked shrimp that have already been peeled and deveined.  Buying prepared shrimp makes your job a snap because all you have to do is defrost the shrimp.  You could also substitute chopped, uncooked chicken.
  • There are two options for defrosting your shrimp. To quickly defrost, place the one pound frozen shrimp in a fine-mesh sieve or colander.  Place this sieve in a large bowl of cold tap water for 10 minutes.   After 10 minutes, replace the water in the bowl with new cold tap water and resubmerge the shrimp.  Let shrimp sit an additional 10- 20 minutes.  At this point the shrimp should be completely defrosted.  
  • The easier way to defrost your shrimp if you remember in advance is to remove your one pound frozen shrimp to a covered bowl and let them defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Cook your shrimp with the tails on because the tail shells contain flavor that seeps out and we get more robust shrimp flavor.  Once your shrimp is cooked and resting you can remove the tails if you desire. 
  • The spice level for this recipe is completely customizable.  As written, I find 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper to be on the spicy side as you would expect from a Cajun pasta.   To customize the heat level, I recommend adding 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning to the shrimp then adding 1-3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning. If you don’t like heat and want this very kid friendly, then omit the cayenne pepper. 
  • If you aren’t sure how much Cajun seasoning to use then start with less then add more to taste at the end of cooking because you can always add more heat but it is hard to take away!
  • Add reserved pasta water or heavy cream after you stir the pasta, shrimp, veggies and sauce all together until you reach the consistency you prefer.  For an extra decadent pasta, add additional heavy cream.
  • Garnishing your individual servings of pasta with additional freshly grated Parmesan, lime juice and fresh parsley really enhances the flavors and takes this pasta to a whole new level!

What you will need to make Cajun Shrimp Pasta :

  • Wide Shallow Pan - a 4-quart braiser is one of my favorite pans. It is wide and shallow and perfect for one-pot recipes! Using a wide pan gives more surface area so your pot will heat more evenly and cook faster.
  • Garlic Press - One of my most used kitchen tools! I received mine as a gift years ago and I can't imagine why I never had one. It minces garlic with one squeeze, with the peel still on!
  • Cheese Grater - this kitchen tool gets more love than almost any other tool in my kitchen because I am a huge proponent of FRESHLY grated cheese as opposed to bagged shredded cheeses.  Using freshly grated cheeses saves money, tastes better, and MELTS better.  Enjoy!


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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Yield: 4-6

Cajun Shrimp Pasta

Cajun Shrimp Pasta is a quick and easy recipe to make, and it is bursting with juicy shrimp and crisp-tender veggies smothered in a Parmesan Cajun sauce!
prep time: 10 MINScook time: 15 MINStotal time: 25 mins


  • 1 pound medium uncooked peeled shrimp, deveined
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning spice mix, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces uncooked fettuccine pasta
  • 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 ½ bell peppers (any color combo), thinly sliced, then halved
  • 1/2 large red onion, sliced, then halved
  • 2 tablespoon butter, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt +salt for water
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes, well drained
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Optional Garnishes
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • fresh parsley
  • lemon juice


  1. Add shrimp to a medium bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 4 minced garlic cloves.  Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a small handful of salt and pasta. Cook until al dente, about 8-12 minutes.  Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water before draining.  Set aside.
  3. While the pasta cooks, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions and bell peppers, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook until peppers reach desired crisp-tenderness, approximately 5 minutes.  Remove to a plate.
  4. To the same skillet (don’t wipe it out), melt 1 tablespoon butter and one tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat.  Add shrimp mixture and cook 3-4 minutes, just until shrimp are opaque and cooked through.  Scrape shrimp and garlic/juices into a bowl. Set aside.  After shrimp is cool enough to handle, you can chop tails off if you desire.
  5. To the same skillet (don’t wipe out), melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Sprinkle in flour and 1-3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (3 teaspoons for more heat), and optional cayenne pepper (if you want it spicy) and cook, while stirring, for 2 minutes, then turn heat to low.  Slowly whisk in chicken broth and heavy cream, stirring constantly until smooth.  Stir in diced tomatoes.
  6. Turn heat to medium high and bring the sauce to a simmer. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, approximately 3-5 minutes.
  7. Reduce heat to low and stir in lime juice followed by Parmesan cheese until melted.  Stir in the cooked shrimp, vegetables and pasta until well coated in sauce, adding additional reserved pasta water or heavy cream if needed to reach desired consistency. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper and/or cayenne pepper to taste.
  8. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, fresh parsley and lime juice (optional).
  1. I find 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper to be on the spicy side as you would expect from a Cajun pasta.
  2. If you are sensitive to heat or want to make the dish very kid friendly then use 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning with the shrimp and only 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning with the roux and omit the cayenne pepper.
  3. At the end of cooking if you want more heat you can always add more, but you can’t take it away.

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  1. Today I intended to make shrimps in a coconut-curry sauce. Not anymore. I changed the recipee since I saw and read the Cajun shrimp Pasta. Today I will make the Cajun shrimp pasta. Lucky for me I have Cajun seasoning in my refrigirator and everything needed for this recipee. I just smell and taste it already. Thank you for this recipee.

    1. Holli@TheSlowRoastedItalianFebruary 17, 2018 at 6:58 AM

      Awesome!! Enjoy and let us know how it goes!

    2. The result: I made the Cajun shrimp pasta and it was a big succes. My husband tasted it with closed eyes. He was in heaven. I still have some for tomorrow. We had celery and carrots with it. It goes good together. I used everything written in the recipe, except the Cayenne pepper. It was a big succes!

  2. Great recipe! I was down in NOLA for a business trip a few months ago and haven't been able to stop talking about the cajun shrimp pasta I had. I'm going to make this for my wife so she stops thinking I'm crazy!

  3. This is a wonderful recipe, thank you for sharing. My whole family loved it!

  4. what can I substitute for heavy cream? I am newly diagnosed dairy free.


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