Thursday, March 20, 2014

Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta

I'm going with the "Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta" name for this dish, but only because I thought the name "Cajun Shrimp Alfredo" would be confusing since I used a short pasta. But rest assured, the sauce for this pasta is decidedly Alfredo. It's creamy, spicy, and cheesy. The sauce starts with a roux, and ends with a cup of cheese. Yep, definitely an Alfredo sauce. Sure, I could have used fettuccine for  this dish, but I found these oh-so curiously shaped pasta called "trottole"...

I'm not even sure how to describe this pasta shape. It's like they took a finger, and then wound the pasta around the finger into coils. Strange, but delicious. I loved the texture of this shape, the sauce ended up getting into all these nooks and crevices.  I'm a huge believer in different types of pasta tasting different. I've been told all my life "Pasta is pasta". Ah, but I disagree. Pasta type makes all the difference in the world. Spaghetti is not spaghetti over rigatoni.  Baked ziti is not ziti with linguine. Chili is not chili without elbow macaroni... well, you guys might not get that one, but I've declared my whole life that I will always have elbow macaroni on hand in case we have chili. These dishes just simply don't taste the same without the proper pasta shape. They just don't. You may not be able to find trottole, that wouldn't surprise me. Another short pasta with lots of texture would work, such as orecchiette or fusilli. And yes, you could always use the standard long noodle. The sauce is thick enough to stand up to the long noodle.

A bit of exciting news! My brother and his wife are coming to visit us next week! I'm so excited. My brother hasn't been out to visit us since we moved into the new house, and I can't wait to show him. Last time he was here, we were in the dreaded rental. This is going to be a much happier visit for me. Also, his wife has never been to Kentucky. I just can't wait. Knowing myself as I do though, I have to put this out there. I will probably be M.I.A. the week they are here. Sure, I can tell myself I'll get a couple of posts done, but I know I won't. So, y'all will get a reprieve from the never-ending food parade. I'm going to try to get a couple of posts done in advance that I can publish the week they are here, but wow. I would definitely feel productive if I could do that, but between the spring cleaning and a brand new stack of library books, I'm not sure that's going to happen. C'est la vie.

Happy Thursday friends! One more day till the weekend! :)

Ingredients (serves 4):

8 ounces dried short pasta
1 tsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper chopped
1 tbsp garlic
1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
3/4 lb uncooked shrimp, peeled
3 tbsp parsley, minced
parmesan cheese for topping (optional)


1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, toss with a tsp of olive oil, set aside and keep warm.
2. Heat butter over medium-high heat in a large wide-side skillet. When melted add onion through Cajun seasoning. Sauté 5-7 minutes, or until vegetables start to soften.
3. Add flour to the pan, cook for 1 minute. Slowly begin to add chicken broth, a little a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all the chicken broth has been added, add the cream. Mix well. Add cheese and shrimp. Cook 3-4 more minutes, or until shrimp are pink and have slightly curled inward, stirring often. Add cooked pasta to the pan, toss well to combine. Remove from heat, sprinkle with parsley.
4. Divide pasta among plates, sprinkle with additional parmesan, if using. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living.

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