Go Back
+ servings

Cajun Shrimp Pasta

This Cajun Shrimp Pasta recipe will have you saying goodbye to restaurant versions and hello to this epically delicious recipe! It’s loaded with fresh, colorful veggies, and juicy succulent shrimp smothered in a vibrant, creamy Cajun sauce with just the right amount of kick. This deceptively easy Cajun Shrimp Pasta is quick to prepare with completely customize heat, veggies and you can even swap the shrimp for chicken or sausage (variations, tips and tricks included). No matter how you choose to serve this Cajun and Shrimp Pasta, your family will fall in love with this luxurious, gourmet tasting meal that comes together in minutes!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound medium raw shrimp shelled & deveined
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning divided
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil divided
  • 2 tablespoon butter divided
  • 1/2 large red onion thinly sliced then halved
  • 3 medium bell peppers (any color combo) thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 14 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes, well drained
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Optional Garnishes

  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • fresh parsley
  • lime juice

Instructions

  • Add shrimp to a medium bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Set aside.
  • Cook fettuccine in salted water according to package directions just until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water then drain and set aside.
  • Working in two batches, melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat in a large heavy bottom skillet. Add shrimp and spread into an even layer. Cook 3-4 minutes, just until shrimp are opaque and cooked through, flipping half way through. Scrape shrimp and juices into a bowl. Set aside. After shrimp is cool enough to handle, you can chop tails off if you desire.
  • To the now empty pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell peppers, 1-3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (see notes), 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and optional cayenne pepper (if you want it spicy); cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic, sprinkle in flour and cook 1 additional minute.
  • Turn heat to low and whisk in chicken broth, and heavy cream, stirring constantly until smooth. Stir in diced tomatoes.
  • Increase heat to medium high and bring the sauce to a simmer. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, approximately 3-5 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to low and stir in lime juice followed by Parmesan cheese until melted. Stir in the cooked shrimp, 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.
  • Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, fresh parsley and lime juice (optional).

Notes

HOW TO CUSTOMIZE HEAT

  • As written, the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper which I consider medium spicy and what you would expect from a Cajun pasta.
  • You can make the pasta less spicy by omitting the cayenne pepper and using 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning with the shrimp and only 1-2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning with the sauce (instead of 3).
  • At the end of cooking, if you want more heat, you can always add more Cajun seasoning and/or cayenne pepper.

Tips and Tricks for Cajun Shrimp Pasta

  • No cream option.   If you’re trying to save some calories, you can replace the half and half with milk whisked with 1 teaspoon cornstarch.  Add when you add the chicken broth and simmer until thickened. 
  • Don’t over marinate shrimp. Don’t marinate shrimp longer than 30 minutes or the lime juice can break down the shrimp proteins and make them mushy.
  • Use a heavy bottom skillet. A cast iron skillet is ideal for blackened shrimp because it conducts heat evenly and gets very hot. Wait until the skillet is very hot before adding the shrimp to achieve the coveted blackened crust.
  • Don’t overcrowd shrimp.  If you use medium-size shrimp, you will likely have to cook your shrimp in two batches so the shrimp can be spread out into an even layer to sear and not just steam.
  • Don’t over-cook shrimp.  Cook shrimp just until opaque for the juiciest shrimp. 
  • Cook shrimp with tails on.  I recommend cooking 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.
  • Salt pasta water.  You should always salt your pasta water – it is the one chance you have for the flavor to penetrate the pasta and enhance the subtle pasta flavor – you can taste the difference.  Use 1 tablespoon salt for 6 quarts of water.
  • Don’t overcook pasta. I recommend testing your pasta 2 or 3 minutes before the box recommends – pasta should be al dente– meaning it should still be a little firm in the center/ have a “bite” to it.  
  • Stop pasta from cooking.  If your pasta is done before your sauce, then rinse in cool water to prevent it from continuing to cook.  Don’t worry about the pasta being cold because the sauce will warm it right up once combined.
  • Prevent pasta from clumping.  If you’re not using the cooked fettuccine right away, toss it with a little olive oil.  This will prevent it from sticking together.
  • Thin sauce if needed.  The sauce can become too thick if its simmered at too high of heat or for too long.  But don’t worry, it’s SO easy to fix!  Simply stir in a little reserved pasta water after you combine it with the fettuccine until it reaches desired consistency. For an extra decadent pasta, add additional heavy cream to thin.
  • Garnish!  Garnishing your individual servings of Cajun Shrimp Pasta with additional freshly grated Parmesan, lime juice and fresh parsley really enhances the flavors and takes this pasta to a whole new level!