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Cajun Shrimp Pasta

Spice up your weeknight dinners with this flavor-packed Cajun shrimp pasta!

Tender shrimp get coated in zesty Cajun spices. They’re tossed with a slightly spicy tomato sauce and combined with penne pasta for an unforgettable meal. 

The best part is how easy it is to make. You can have it on the table in about 30 minutes, and it’s totally restaurant-quality!

It’s perfect for busy weeknights when you’re craving something comforting and indulgent.

Fettucine pasta with tender shrimp and Cajun seasoning, garnished with parsley
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Why You’ll Love This Cajun Shrimp Pasta

Full of Flavor: This dish packs a serious punch of bold, zesty Cajun flavors from the seasoning blend. They’re complemented by the richness of the cream sauce and the brightness of roasted red peppers.

Restaurant-Quality: The combination of succulent shrimp, al dente pasta, and velvety sauce delivers an indulgent, restaurant-caliber experience.

Easy Meal Prep: Quickly-cooked shrimp and a simple sauce make this a low-effort but impressive option for weekly meal prep.

One-Skillet Meal: Requiring just one skillet and basic pantry staples, it’s a fuss-free meal.

Ingredients

  • Penne or Fettuccine Pasta: Al dente pasta provides the perfect base for soaking up the sauce’s flavors.
  • Large Shrimp: This dish features succulent, tender shrimp, peeled and deveined for convenience.
  • Olive Oil and Butter: The combo creates a rich, flavorful foundation for sautéing.
  • Onion and Garlic: They add depth and complexity to the sauce when sautéed until fragrant.
  • Diced Roasted Red Peppers: Jarred roasted red peppers bring a sweet, smoky flavor.
  • Chicken Broth: It provides a savory backbone to the sauce and helps balance the richness.
  • Crushed Tomatoes: They add bright, acidic notes that complement the creamy sauce.
  • Heavy Cream: It creates a velvety smooth sauce that coats each noodle.
  • Parmesan Cheese: It melts into the sauce for a delicious finish.
  • Fresh Parsley: It adds a pop of color and herbaceous flavor.
  • Cajun Seasoning, Salt, and Pepper: The blend infuses the shrimp and sauce with bold, zesty Cajun flavors. Season to taste.
A black skillet filled with Cajun shrimp pasta infused with salt and pepper, garnished with fresh parsley

How to Make Cajun Shrimp Pasta

This pasta couldn’t be easier to whip up! 

1. Cook the pasta. Cook the penne or fettuccine pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and set aside.

2. Season the shrimp. Toss the shrimp with 1-2 tbsp of the Cajun seasoning until evenly coated. Set aside.

3. Sear the shrimp. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and sear the seasoned shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side until cooked through. Transfer to a plate.

4. Sauté the aromatics. Melt the butter in the same skillet. Sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and roasted red peppers for 30 seconds.

5. Make the sauce. Whisk in the remaining 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning, chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, and heavy cream. Simmer for 2-3 minutes to thicken.

6. Finish the sauce. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Combine everything and serve. Add the cooked pasta and seared shrimp to the sauce and toss to coat evenly. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Shrimp pasta with Cajun seasoning and parsley

Tips for the Best Cajun Shrimp Pasta

These tips will make you feel like a pro chef when making this dish!

  • Put in the prep work. Fully thaw frozen shrimp before cooking for evenly cooked, juicy shrimp.
  • Don’t overcook! Otherwise, the shrimp will turn tough and rubbery. They’re done when the flesh turns light pink.
  • Preserve your pasta water. Reserve some of the starchy pasta cooking water to thin out the sauce if needed.
  • Get creative! Customize the dish by adding different proteins, like chicken or sausage. You can also add other vegetables, like spinach or mushrooms.
  • Go gluten-free. Choose a gluten-free pasta to make it gluten-free friendly.
  • Get ahead of the game. The pasta can be made ahead of time without the shrimp and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Prepare the shrimp right before serving.
  • Make it a feast. Serve with garlic bread or a side salad. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and grated Parmesan before serving.
A white bowl of Cajun shrimp pasta with chopped bell peppers and parsley

How to Store

Here’s how to keep your leftover pasta fresh.

To Store: Refrigerate leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. The sauce may thicken as it cools, so you may need to add a splash of broth or cream when reheating. 

To Freeze: Freeze leftovers in an air-tight, freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. The cream sauce may separate slightly after freezing.

To Reheat: Gently rewarm over low heat on the stovetop. Stir frequently and add a splash of broth or cream to loosen the sauce if needed. Or, reheat in the microwave at 50% power in 30-second intervals until heated through. 

More Pasta Dinners Your Family Will Love

Taco Pasta
Buffalo Chicken Pasta
Spinach Artichoke Pasta
Philly Cheesesteak Pasta

Cajun Shrimp Pasta

Course: Main CourseCuisine: American
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes
Calories

366

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kcal

This Cajun shrimp pasta comes together in about 30 minutes but tastes like a restaurant-quality dish. The spices, succulent shrimp, and creamy sauce are an irresistible combination. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces penne or fettuccine pasta

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 2-3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning, divided

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 cup diced roasted red peppers (from a jar)

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

  • 1 (14 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • While the pasta cooks, toss the shrimp with 1-2 tbsp of the Cajun seasoning in a bowl until evenly coated. Set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the seasoned shrimp in a single layer and sear for 2-3 minutes per side until browned and cooked through. Remove to a plate.
  • Melt the butter in the same skillet. Add the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes until softened. Stir in the garlic and roasted red peppers and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
  • Whisk in the remaining 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning, then stir in the chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, and heavy cream. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened.
  • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the cooked pasta and shrimp to the sauce and toss until everything is evenly coated. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Use a good quality Cajun seasoning blend to flavor the shrimp and sauce.
  • Sear the shrimp quickly at high heat to get a nice crust.
  • Use both chicken broth and cream to create a light yet luxurious sauce.

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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