This Cajun Shrimp Pasta is going to be your new favorite weeknight night meal! This easy 30 minute meal will win you over with perfect cajun seasoning and the best cream sauce.
My very favorite types of meals to make for you are the ones that taste like you ordered them at a restaurant, but they come together in 30 minutes. This delicious recipe, based off of my Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta, is one you are sure to love.
My family absolutely loved this recipe. Even my finicky eaters.
How to Make Cajun Shrimp Pasta
This is a brief overview of how to make this delicious dinner recipe. For the full recipe with all of the measurements, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Make the pasta. It’s best to start boiling the water right away and then multi-task and start the rest of the recipe. See all my tips on making pasta below.
- Prepare the shrimp. Toss the shrimp with cajun seasoning and olive oil.
- Sauté the shrimp until cooked through. This will take about three minutes on each side. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and then give it a quick rinse so the residual cajun seasoning doesn’t burn.
- Make the cream sauce. Melt the butter and add in the garlic, making sure not to burn it. Whisk in the flour, making a roux. Very slowly add the heavy cream. Finally, melt in some cheese and add some more cajun seasoning.
- Finish off the dish. Toss in the cooked pasta and return the shrimp to the pan. Top with freshly diced tomatoes and parsley.
While it may seem like the easiest thing in the world, there are a few tips that make pasta turn out perfectly every time.
- Make sure you use enough water. There should be ample room for the pasta to cook and expand.
- Bring the pasta to a roaring boil. You want to see big giant bubbles before you add the dry pasta.
- Add salt to the water. I like adding about one teaspoon of kosher salt for every pound of pasta that I’m boiling.
- Set a timer. There is nothing worse than overcooked pasta. I like to set a timer so that my pasta is perfectly al dente – cooked but with a little bite still left to it.
Using Frozen Shrimp
I love keeping frozen shrimp on hand. It is great in so many recipes and makes this a meal you can make last minute. If you are lucky and live near the sea, you can absolutely use fresh shrimp in this recipe. For frozen, follow the package instructions for thawing the shrimp or thaw it in your refrigerator overnight.
Cajun Seasoning Recipe
What makes this dish flavorful and perfect is the Cajun Seasoning. As mentioned above, I love using my own because I can control everything that goes in it. My recipe has instructions to make a large amount or just enough for one recipe.
In my cajun seasoning post, I go into detail on why I use each spice and how you can control the flavor of it by making your own. That said, don’t skip making this because you don’t have time to throw together the seasoning. You can use store-bought seasoning and still love this!
How to Make a Roux
The thing that makes this dish creamy is the roux. A roux is the combination of a fat, such as butter here, and flour. The fat coats the flour, and helps keep it suspended in the sauce, preventing the sauce from separating. The trick is to add the liquid to the roux slowly. I like adding just a few tablespoons at a time in the beginning. I wait to add more until what I have just added is absorbed.
Half and Half
The backbone of the sauce is half and half. In the UK, this is known as half cream. It is essentially half heavy cream and half whole milk. In fact, if you can’t find it, you can combine those two to replace it.
One of the key components of that creamy sauce you are making is the Parmesan cheese. It adds creaminess, flavor, and perfection. I highly encourage you to shred your own cheese. Pre-shredded cheese is coated in preservatives which make it difficult for it to melt. It is absolutely worth your time to shred your own.
Leftovers of this recipe can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. My husband and I actually love cold leftovers of this almost more than the original. If you’d like your leftovers warmed up, add them to a skillet with a little cream over low heat, stirring often until everything is warmed through.
What to Serve with Cajun Shrimp Pasta
This is a great filling dish, but if you are looking to squeeze in some vegetables, here are a few ideas:
- My kids always love Parmesan Roasted Broccoli!
- This Chopped Salad is so easy and would go great with this dinner.
- Garlic Bread goes amazing with this recipe.
If you make this Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta or any of my other recipes leave me a comment and let me know what you think!
Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta Recipe
- 1 pound raw shrimp (453.592 grams) thawed and deveined
- 8 ounces penne pasta (100 grams) cooked according to to package instructions
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 3 tablespoons cajun seasoning divided
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups half and half (354.882 ml) read more about half and half here
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (33 grams) shredded
- salt and pepper to taste
- diced tomatoes optional
- fresh parsley optional
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions. When finished, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, in a bowl combine the shrimp, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 tablespoons cajun seasoning. Toss to coat.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, add the shrimp, and cook until pink and cooked through, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove the shrimp and set aside.
- In a clean skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, being careful not to burn it.
- Whisk in the flour. Very slowly, whisk in the half and half. You want to just whisk in a small bit at a time, so that you can create a roux. I like to eyeball about 2 tablespoons at a time, only adding more half and half after what you just added is absorbed, going quicker the more you add.
- Once you have whisked in all of the half and half, stir in the parmesan cheese, melting it to combine. Then stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in the pasta and return the shrimp to the pan. Serve with diced tomatoes and fresh parsley.