Cajun Shrimp Pasta
This Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta is not only one of the most flavourful pasta dishes but it’s also a one pot pasta dish so that means it’s not only delicious but also quick and very easy to make. This version is made with a tomato based cream sauce as opposed to a cheesy Alfredo sauce so it’s a bit lighter and the flavours of the spices really stand out for a meal that everyone will love! The shrimp and whole dish are flavoured with Cajun seasoning that you could blend your self or use a store-bought blend. No need to cook pasta separately as it cooks in the sauce and the pasta starches naturally thicken and help the sauce which becomes super velvety without adding any all purpose flour or thickeners - the magic of a one pot pasta recipe!
What is Cajun Seasoning?
Cajun seasoning is a blend of herbs and spices that originates from Louisiana, the home of Cajun cooking. It adds spicy earthiness to recipes, and a good Cajun seasoning adds a nice depth of flavor. Its commonly a blend of paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, ground coriander, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and thyme but there are many variations. It’s often used in soups and stews as well as a rub to season meat and sauces. But can be used in anything you would use a typical spice blend. In this recipe we are using it to season the shrimp and to add flavour to this fabulous one pot pasta dish which has a creamy Cajun sauce which is velvety smooth with some smokey heat and spice.
Cajun Shrimp Pasta Recipe Ingredients
- OLIVE OIL & BUTTER: I like to use a bit of both but feel free to use one or the other if you prefer
- SHRIMP: I use frozen shrimp that have already been deveined and partially peeled and some that weren’t - if you prefer tails and shells removed so its easier to eat without using your hands - feel free to use those ones. As for the type I used tiger shrimp cause they are more vibrant and that is also what I had on hand - use what you like just make sure to thaw and pat dry. If you would like to switch out the protein feel free to make this with chicken - you will need to sear the chicken longer of course until cooked through.
- SPICES: Apart from salt and black pepper you will need Cajun spice/seasoning or creole seasoning. Feel free to use store bought pre-blended Cajun seasoning or blend your own to taste using a blend of paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, ground coriander, oregano and thyme. I omit garlic powder and onion powder in my recipe, because if I’m making Cajun style food I tend to use fresh garlic and onions, but you can always add them or for a simpler blend do cayenne, paprika and Italian seasoning. This recipe calls for using 2 ½ tablespoons of Cajun seasoning but feel free to use more for a spicier or more flavourful pasta dish. Keep in mind that different brands of Cajun seasoning have varying amounts of salt. If your seasoning is saltier, start with half of the seasoning and add more to taste or simply omit any additional salt to recipe. Along with the Cajun seasoning I also like to add some chili flakes and oregano for a little extra heat and flavour. Feel free to adjust amounts to taste.
- SAUSAGE: Precooked or semi dry cured sausage works best (smoked) like andouille sausage or kielbasa or even chorizo.
- ONION & GARLIC: Must haves for some delicious flavor.
- BELL PEPPER: Typically I like to use red bell pepper but feel free to use any colour bell pepper you like
- TOMATO PASTE & DICED TOMATOES: I use finely diced or crushed canned tomatoes and tomato paste for deeper flavor.
- WHITE WINE: This is great for de-glazing the pan and adding loads of flavour to the pasta. If you prefer not to use it just replace it with equal amounts chicken broth
- PASTA: Any short pasts like penne pasta or rigatoni will work for this recipe - even bow ties/farfalle, rotini, pasta shells, rotelle, or fussili will work too. Long pasta like spaghetti, fettuccine, or linguine will work too but I find for a one pot pasta short pasta cooks more evenly. You can use gluten free pasta as well - whatever pasta you use make sure to check the package instructions to see how long to cook the pasta for
- BROTH: I love using a low sodium or no sodium broth, this way I can control how much salt goes in my dish. I prefer chicken over vegetable broth but feel free to use what you prefer
- HEAVY CREAM: I like to use heavy cream or half and half and just about ½ cup as most of the creaminess in this dish comes from the starchy pasta water/broth and not so much the cream. If you want it creamier or a richer sauce feel free to increase the amount of cream to taste.
- PARSLEY: For garnish and serving
- VARIATIONS: Feel free to add some extra nutrition by adding extra veggies like mushrooms - sear them with the sausage or stir in some chopped fresh spinach for some extra greens or even some green peas.
How to Make One Pot Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- SEASON the shrimp with some of the cajun seasoning
- SAUTE shrimp, remove and set aside, then saute the sausage followed by the onions, garlic, and peppers until onions are softened 3-5 min
- STIR in salt, pepper, oregano, chili flakes and the remaining Cajun seasoning and tomato paste.
- DEGALZE pan with white wine or broth
- STIR in broth, crushed tomatoes, and pasta then bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer for 12 to 14 minutes
- STIR in cream and return shrimp to pan and add the chopped parsley - stir and cook a couple more minutes until pasta sauce is creamy and thickened
- SERVE with extra chopped parsley and even some Parmesan cheese if you feet like grating some over the pasta
Storage And Reheating Instructions
- STORAGE: Store in the fridge in a airtight container for up to 3 days.
- REHEAT: Reheat the pasta in a skillet over low-medium heat, and add a splash of water to loosen the sauce. Do the same if using the microwave.
- FREEZE: I don’t recommend freezing this creamy shrimp pasta.
More One Pot Pasta Recipes You Will Love:
- 1 lb. raw peeled and deveined shrimp
- 2½ tablespoons Cajun spice/seasoning or creole seasoning, divided (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 oz smoked sausage or andouille sausage, (thinly sliced)
- 2 small red bell peppers, thinly sliced (or any colors)
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon chili flakes/red pepper flakes (or more for more of a kick)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1 (14-oz.) can finely diced tomatoes/ crushed tomatoes
- 12 oz. dry penne pasta (about 4 heaping cups)
- 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth, plus more if needed
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
- Season and toss shrimp in a medium bowl with 1 tablespoon of the Cajun seasoning
- Heat oil and butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet or large pot. Place shrimp in a single layer. Sear, 1 minute per side. Then remove from skillet with slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add sausage to same skillet and cook searing until golden brown, 3-5 mins.
- Add garlic, onion, and red peppers to the sausage, cook until fragrant and veggies have softened, 3-5 mins.
- Stir in pinch of salt and pepper, the oregano, chili flakes and remaining Cajun seasoning and tomato paste.
- Deglaze with white wine and simmer for 2 minutes until reduced while scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of skillet.
- Add the pasta, crushed tomatoes, and broth, and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 12 to 14 minutes, or until pasta is al dente, while stirring occasionally, adding a little extra broth if needed.
- Remove lid and stir in heavy cream followed by the cooked shrimp.
- Continue simmering, uncovered, for 1-2 more minutes, until creamy sauce begins to thicken and clings to noodles.
- Stir in parsley and serve with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and more parsley for garnish if you wish.
- This pasta dish will progressively get thicker as it cools so you may need to thin out the sauce a little if you are reheating leftovers.
- Store leftovers in the fridge in a airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Reheat the pasta in a skillet over low-medium heat, and add a splash of water to loosen the sauce. Do the same if using the microwave.
- I don’t recommend freezing this creamy shrimp pasta.
- If you would like to remove the sausage after cooking it like you did with the shrimp and add them both back to the pot when pasta is done feel free to do that. It will keep the sausage a little more crips around the edges.