Cajun Shrimp Pasta is a hearty, oh so satisfying seafood pasta dish that is simple yet packed with big flavors. It's also an easy pasta recipe that you can make in under 30 minutes!
I must confess to you that Cajun Shrimp Pasta is one of my personal FAVORITE pasta dishes of all time.
This recipe is a huge hit in my house! It's packed with a flavorful Cajun cream sauce, and yet it is both light and hearty.
It's simply AMAZING, and always has me going back for seconds. I hope you try it and love it, too!
A hearty, flavorful cajun shrimp pasta
I just love the big flavors of Cajun cooking. A lot of people misunderstand it, and assume Cajun food is spicy. Not true!
One of the best things about making Cajun food at home is that you can adjust the spice levels to your tastebuds. I always keep a jar of homemade Cajun seasoning in my spice drawer, which I make somewhat mild because our family isn't big on super spicy foods. But there's just enough kick to really make this dish sing!
If you enjoy this recipe, you also might like to try my Instant Pot Cajun Chicken Pasta recipe. Or other seafood pasta recipes like my Pasta with Clams and White Wine Sauce, Crab Pasta, or Tuna Pasta with Capers and White Wine Sauce.
Olive oil & Garlic - The flavor foundation of this delectable dish is the garlic sautéed in olive oil
Shrimp - Use large raw shrimp that is peeled and deveined, and if frozen, thaw it completely before cooking. If you're in Oregon or Washington, check out Newmans Fish Market. I used their wild shrimp for this recipe when I did the photos and it's honestly some of the plumpest, juiciest shrimp I've cooked with. It's so good!
In a pinch, you could use frozen previously cooked shrimp that is thawed, but make sure you watch the cooking carefully and adjust as needed.
Pasta - Thick, long noodles such as linguine, pappardelle, and fettuccine work really well for this creamy seafood pasta dish. But you can also use pasta such as rotini, fussili, penne, or rigatoni.
Butter - Some unsalted butter adds to the luxuriousness of this dish.
Cream - I always make this recipe using my favorite lactose free heavy cream. However, you can use any heavy cream or even half and half.
Parmesan cheese - description of what it is/how it is used with affiliate link where possible
Tomatoes - Use Roma tomatoes, or whatever tomatoes you have on hand.
Lemon Juice - Add a squeeze of lemon juice to finish the pasta.
OPTIONAL - Garnish with chopped parsley, if you like.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, make the shrimp and sauce.
Peel and devein the shrimp, if needed. Pat the shrimp dry, then season with salt and pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 - 2 minutes, turning over to just start to get a little bit of color on each side. Shrimp cook very quickly, so take care to NOT fully cook the shrimp yet!
Add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute.
Slowly pour in the cream, then add the butter and parmigiano reggiano cheese. Stir together just until the cheese melts.
Turn off the heat.
Drain the pasta, and add the pasta to the skillet.
Sprinkle in the cajun seasoning, tomatoes, and parsley.
Toss all of the ingredients together well, until the pasta is well coated.
Squeeze fresh lemon juice over just before serving.
Cajun cooking is considered to be more rustic, home comfort cooking. Whereas, Creole cuisine tends to be considered city cuisine that's a blend of culinary influences from Africa, Germany, and Italy.
Typically, Cajun seasoning contains spices and herbs like paprika, cayene, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, thyme, oregano, salt, and red pepper flakes. Making your own homemade Cajun seasoning is easy!
Allow the pasta and seafood to cool completely. Then store in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Kitchen tools and equipment
For this recipe, you just need a few basic kitchen tools:
Large pot - You'll need a large pot to cook the pasta in.
Large skillet - Use a large skillet to make the cream. A large skillet with high sides is preferable, since you'll be adding the pasta to the pan.
What to serve with this pasta dish
This is an amazing seafood pasta recipe that you can add a simple green salad too and call it a full, satisfying meal.
You can also balance out the richness of this shrimp pasta with light side dishes. This simple Cucumber Tomato Salad would be a great companion. Or make this Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread or Garlic Parmesan Knots. You could also make this Classic Tomato Bruschetta with Balsamic Vinegar recipe, which would be delightful with the pasta.
Best wine pairings for cajun pasta
This Cajun Shrimp Pasta dish is so versatile, that you can enjoy it with either a white or a red wine. In fact, enjoy it with a glass of Rosé, too!
If you are in the mood for a white wine, pair this seafood pasta with a Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Riesling. These white wines help bring out the spices of the dish.
Choose a lighter red wine such as a Pinot Noir or a Gamay if you're in the mood for red. These wines will enhance the seafood flavors of this pasta.
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Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- 12 ounces linguine or other pasta shape
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
- ¼ cup Cajun seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, make the shrimp and sauce.
- Pat the shrimp dry, then season with salt and pepper.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 - 2 minutes, turning over to just start to get some color on each side.
- Add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute.
- Slowly pour in the cream, then add the butter and parmigiano reggiano cheese. Stir together just until the cheese melts.
- Turn off the heat. Drain the pasta, and add the pasta to the skillet. Sprinkle in the cajun seasoning, tomatoes, and parsley. Toss together until the pasta is well coated. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over just before serving.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.