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Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta Recipe – Ready In Under 30 Minutes!

This Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta recipe is the perfect meal to make on a busy weeknight, yet it is elegant enough to make for a special occasion. Not only is it made and ready to eat in under 30 minutes, it is also packed with a ton of flavor!

Shrimp and penne pasta are tossed in a simple and easy to make cream sauce. However instead of the traditional cheesy white sauce, Cajun seasoning is added to the mixture to take this dish to a whole new level.

However, it isn’t just the sauce that gets the extra dose of flavor. The shrimp itself also gets a nice coating of the seasoning before they go into the skillet.

creamy cajun shrimp pasta
Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta is not only delicious but it can be made in only 30 minutes!

This extra layer of flavor allows the spices to actually penetrate the surface of the shrimp. Therefore, with each bite you will be sure to have a hint of the delicious Cajun seasoning.

However, be aware that not all Cajun seasonings are created equal. Depending on what type that you purchase there can be a huge difference in both the sodium content and spice level.

Homemade vs. Store Bought Cajun Seasoning

You can find various brands of Cajun seasoning at most standard grocery stores across the country. And if you live in Louisiana you will have dozens to choose from.

However, be sure that you find a specific brand of seasoning that you enjoy before adding it to this Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta recipe. Just like when you make Cajun Shrimp & Rice, you will be using the spice as the main seasoning.

So what exactly is in Cajun seasoning? Although it can include several different ingredients, in general, it’s a spicy blend that includes paprika, cayenne pepper powder, garlic powder, ground black pepper and oregano.

You will also find that the store bought versions most often have a large amount of salt added to the mix as well. However, there are several brands that offer a low sodium version, or even this No Salt Cajun Seasoning blend that leaves it out all together.

Although purchasing the seasoning at the store is convenient, I prefer to make my own homemade Cajun seasoning. This way I can control the ingredients and the spice level that goes in it. I have included the recipe below.

Cajun seasoned shrimp
Be sure to use your favorite Cajun seasoning to adjust for heat and sodium content.

Homemade Cajun Seasoning Recipe

yield: approximately 1/4 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons smoked paprika (or ground paprika)
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 Tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 Tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Tablespoon cayenne pepper powder

Instructions:

Add the ingredients to a small container and mix until well incorporated. Store in a closed jar at room temperature for up to 1 year.

Then after you add the homemade Cajun seasoning to your recipe add salt to your taste preference.

Now that you have the Cajun seasoning it is time to purchase the shrimp for this delicious meal.

cream sauce with Cajun seasoning
Because the Cajun seasoning is used directly on the shrimp and in the creamy sauce, be sure that you use one that you have tried and like.

Frozen vs. Fresh Shrimp

You can use either fresh or frozen shrimp to make this Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta recipe. However frozen shrimp may be the best option for those who don’t have access to same-day, fresh caught shrimp.

Surprisingly, for many of us that don’t live on the coast, frozen shrimp is the better choice to purchase when compared to fresh shrimp. This is because the shrimp that is frozen and bagged for grocery store freezer sections is done so right after it is caught.

Therefore, this is the best option when you don’t have fresh caught shrimp available to purchase. However, when using frozen shrimp it is best to thaw them before adding them to the skillet.

Frozen shrimp has a higher water content than fresh caught shrimp. Once they thaw it will release a lot of the liquid and cause the creamy sauce to become too thin.

Therefore, it is important to let the frozen shrimp thaw overnight in the refrigerator before adding them to this recipe. Then be sure to pat the shrimp dry with paper towels before adding them to the skillet.

shrimp in cream sauce
Large shrimp are the best size to use in this Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta recipe.

What Size Shrimp To Use For Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta

When it comes to what size shrimp to purchase, it is really a matter of personal preference. However, after testing this recipe several times with various sizes, the general consensus is that it is best to use large shrimp.

The large size shrimp are big enough to have a good surface area to absorb the creamy Cajun seasoning, but they also don’t get lost when tossed with the pasta.

Anything larger and you have to cut it before you take a bite. And anything smaller just simply gets lost in the pasta.

Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta Recipe

*A printable recipe card is located at the bottom of this article which contains the specific measurements, temperatures and cook times. However, continue reading below to learn about more helpful tips about this specific recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 oz penne pasta
  • 1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp cajun seasoning, divided
  • 1 Tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Garnish (optional)

  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Chopped fresh parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

In a pot of generously salted boiling water add the penne pasta and cook until al’ dente according to package instructions. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water then drain the pasta.

Pat the shrimp dry and place the shrimp in a medium size bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of the cajun seasoning over top and toss to coat.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the shrimp and saute for 1-2 minutes per side, or until the shrimp just turns light pink in color.

Remove the shrimp from the skillet and place in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean towel to keep the shrimp warm. In the same skillet placed over medium heat add the butter.

Once the butter melts add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds or just until fragrant. Add the diced tomatoes to the skillet and saute for about 2-3 minutes.

penne pasta in Cajun cream sauce with shrimp
Although you can use any pasta, penne is a good choice because it holds up well when tossed in the sauce. In addition, the texture of the penne pasta soaks up the cream sauce perfectly.

Pour in the heavy whipping cream, remaining Cajun seasoning and grated Parmesan cheese. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to medium/low heat and continue to cook, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

Toss Everything Together

Add the shrimp and pasta to the skillet and stir until the noodles are coated in the sauce and everything is heated through. If the sauce is too thick add a little of the reserved pasta water and stir.

Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley if desired. Serve warm.

Enjoy! Mary

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Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta

Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Shrimp and penne pasta coated in a creamy Cajun style sauce. A quick, easy and dinner for two that is full of flavor!

Ingredients

  • 4 oz penne pasta
  • 1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp cajun seasoning, divided
  • 1 Tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Garnish (optional)

  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. In a pot of generously salted boiling water add the penne pasta and cook until al' dente according to package instructions. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water then drain the pasta.
  2. Pat the shrimp dry and place the shrimp in a medium size bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of the cajun seasoning over top and toss to coat.
  3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the shrimp and saute for 1-2 minutes per side, or until the shrimp just turns light pink in color. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and place in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean towel to keep warm.
  4. In the same skillet placed over medium heat add the butter. Once the butter melts add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds or just until fragrant.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes to the skillet and saute for about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Pour in the heavy whipping cream, remaining cajun seasoning and grated parmesan cheese. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to medium/low heat and continue to cook, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  7. Add the shrimp and pasta to the skillet and stir until noodles are coated in sauce and everything is heated through. If the sauce is too thick add a little of the reserved pasta water and stir.
  8. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley if desired. Serve warm.

Notes

Recipe provided by iCookfortwo.com

Nutrition Information
Yield 3
Amount Per Serving Calories 457Total Fat 32gSaturated Fat 18gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 246mgSodium 2026mgCarbohydrates 18gFiber 1gSugar 3gProtein 24g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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