Saturday, November 5, 2011

Creamy Cajun Pasta with Shrimp

Pasta is always a welcome meal in our house. Shrimp is also well loved.  Then I put it over the top by making it with a creamy Cajun sauce.  I had a hands down winner, winner shrimp and pasta dinner and the entire family (even the picky eaters) loved it.   I took a little help from the store and use a prepared Alfredo sauce to make the meal come together quickly and easily. 

This meal came together in minutes and it was basically all made in one pot.  That makes me very happy since after eating, I only had one pot to wash.

1lb of 100% whole wheat pasta (I used linguine style) 
1lb of cleaned shrimp
1 jar (15oz) of Alfredo Sauce
1 medium onion chopped
1 red bell pepper (or red chilies) finely chopped
1-2 green chilies (serranos or jalapenos) seeded and minced
1 medium zucchini diced small
3-4 cloves of garlic grated
1Tbs of olive oil
2Tbs of Cajun seasoning (see recipe below)
seasoning salt or salt to taste
red chili flakes (to taste)
1 cup of low-fat milk
3/4 cup of starching cooking water from the pasta 
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbs of minced parsley
1-2 cups of frozen green beans (optional)

Before making your sauce: Boil your pasta per package instructions in salted water. Stop cooking the pasta 1-2 minutes shy of the full cooking time.  You will finish cooking the pasta off in the Creamy Cajun Sauce. Remember to reserve your pasta water before draining.  Drain pasta and set aside.  

Heat 1Tbs of olive oil in a large pan on medium-high heat.  Add your onions, chilies, peppers and zucchini and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Then add your grated garlic and saute for another 1-2 minutes. 

Then add your chili flakes and Cajun seasoning. You can buy Cajun seasoning or make your own seasoning (recipe below).  Saute for 1 minute. 

You can add your frozen green beans here if you decide to use them.  I thought the creamy sauce would go well with the green beans so I added them. 

Next add your bottle of Alfredo Sauce and 1 cup of low-fat milk.  Then use the reserved starchy pasta water to rinse out the jar (get every drop of sauce from the jar).   Stir well and bring sauce to a simmer. 

Next add your cleaned shrimp.  Cook the shrimp for a few minutes, but not fully because they will finish cooking with the pasta. 

Finally add your cooked pasta, Parmesan cheese and parsley.  Toss well with the sauce and shrimp.  Allow the pasta to cook for another 2-3 minutes so it finishes cooking.   

Then turn off the stove and allow the pasta to sit in the sauce for a few minutes so it has some more time to soak into the noodles.   Serve and Enjoy.


Emeril's Creole/ Cajun Seasoning:
2 1/2 Tbs paprika2Tbs salt
2 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs black pepper
1 Tbs onion powder
1 Tbs cayenne pepper
1 Tbs dried oregano
1 Tbs dried Thyme
Mix all ingredients in an airtight container and use as needed. 

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