This Cajun Shrimp Pasta is made with juicy, tender shrimp and spicy Andouille sausage in a rich and luscious cream sauce. Ready in just 30-minutes, this incredible creamy Cajun pasta is the perfect quick and easy dinner.
Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta
It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for Cajun food. From the classics, like Jambalaya and Gumbo, to recipes made on a whim like these Cajun Shrimp Foil Packets or this Cajun Chicken and Rice Bake, New Orleans cuisine, it seems, is always on my mind.
It only makes sense then that I combine all the buttery, creamy, richness of alfredo sauce with the out-of-this-world flavors of Cajun spices to make the very best shrimp pasta – EVER!
If you’ve never had the opportunity to try Cajun seasoning, it’s a simple, yet hugely flavorful combination of salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, cayenne, and oregano. It is one of my absolute favorite seasoning combinations to sprinkle on everything.
Cajun Shrimp Pasta Ingredients and Substitutions
- Shrimp. In this particular recipe, I decided to make shrimp the star so I splurged and purchased big, fat, jumbo prawns. Of course, any size shrimp will do, just be sure to adjust cooking time accordingly as overcooked shrimp are no good. I also added andouille sausage for a little extra kick. Feel free to add chicken or beef, if preferred.
- Cajun Seasoning. Homemade or store-bought, Cajun seasoning is a must. That said, keep in mind that all Cajun seasoning mixes vary in heat levels. So, if you’re sensitive to spicy foods, I highly recommend starting with half the recommended amount of seasoning (this is not a mild pasta dish) and adding more at the end, if desired.
- Mirepoix. Not quite the “holy trinity” of Cajun cuisine as I left out the celery, the mirepoix in this recipe does contain onion, bell pepper, and garlic. You can chop your bell pepper into big chunks or dice them nice and small- entirely up to you.
- Tomatoes. I had a whole bag of fresh Roma tomatoes that needed to be used, so I ended up using those. However, feel free to add a large can of diced tomatoes or a mix of each, if you prefer.
- Pasta. I used fettuccini pasta here which is great, but next time I will definitely use penne or bowtie pasta. I love fettuccini noodles, but it’s so much easier to handle leftover pasta noodles when they’re short and fat or in some sort of tube shape.
- Cream. I used full-fat cream. It’s not every day that I make creamy pasta, so when I do, I do it right. Could you use half-and-half? Yes. Do I recommend anything less heavy (aka less fattening) than cream or half-and-half? No.
- Parmesan cheese. As part of the creamy sauce and as a topping, parmesan is always a good idea when pasta noodles are involved.
How to Make Cajun Shrimp Pasta
1. Marinate the shrimp. Add your shrimp to a medium mixing bowl and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, Cajun seasoning, and dried oregano. If you are sensitive to spicy food, cut the total amount of Cajun seasoning in half. You can always add more later, if necessary.
2. Cook the sausage first…then the shrimp. Brown the sausage in a large cast-iron skillet then remove it to a clean plate and set it aside. Add the shrimp and cook over medium-high heat in a single layer for approximately 2 minutes per side. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your shrimp so keep an eye on them.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
4. Cook the Mirepoix. Return the skillet to medium heat. Cook the onions for 3-4 minutes, stirring often, then add the diced bell pepper and continue to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Finally, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring continuously.
5. Add the seasoning and tomatoes. Add the Cajun seasoning and the diced tomatoes. Mix well, reduce heat to medium, and allow vegetables to cook for 2-3 minutes or until soft.
6. Cook the noodles. Add the fettuccini noodles to the pot of boiling water. Use a large wooden spoon to stir the noodles and prevent them from sticking together. Cook until al dente.
7. Finish the sauce. As the noodles are boiling, add the granulated sugar and chicken broth to the tomatoes. Increase heat to high and allow mixture to come to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for approximately 5 minutes before removing the lid and stirring in the cream, butter, and adding the shrimp and sausage back to the pot. Allow everything to cook for 3-4 minutes, but do not boil the cream sauce.
8. Add the noodles to the sauce. Finally, add the cooked noodles and shredded parmesan cheese in with the sauce, adding reserved pasta water, as needed.
Tips and Tricks
- Can you make this pasta meat free!? Yes, it’s totally possible. Just ditch the meat.
- Can you make it vegan? I will never say no because I’m sure there is a way to make a pasta that is just as creamy and delicious without animal products. Unfortunately, vegan food is not my specialty (I love cheese far too much).
- Ok, since we’re on the subject- gluten-free? Yes. Just swap the pasta for your favorite gluten-free alternative and double check that your Cajun seasoning blend (and sausages) doesn’t have any hidden gluten in there somewhere. Otherwise, you are good to go.
- If you think you may have leftovers, store the sauce and noodles separately (if possible).
- To reheat, add a little extra broth or water to the sauce as it will thicken considerably in the refrigerator.
- Cajun seasoning is already quite salty. As such, I don’t recommend that you add much additional salt to this recipe.
How to Serve Cajun Shrimp Pasta
This pasta is pretty heavy, so if you’re looking to serve it with anything extra I’d recommend a light salad like this arugula salad or tomato salad. Breadsticks are also always welcome for mopping up any extra cream sauce.
Have you tried making this Cajun Shrimp Pasta Recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta Recipe
- 1.5 pounds jumbo shrimp - peeled and deveined
- 2 tablespoon olive oil - divided
- 2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 pound andouille sausage - sliced
- 1 large yellow onion - diced
- 2 red bell peppers - seeded and diced
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning - plus more to taste
- 6 Roma tomatoes - diced (or 1(28-ounce) can diced tomatoes)
- 2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1-2 cups low-sodium chicken broth - (plus 1 cup reserved pasta water, as needed)
- 1 cup cream
- 3 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese - plus more for serving
- 1 pound fettuccine pasta - or pasta of choice
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley - chopped
- Add the shrimp to a medium mixing bowl and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, Cajun seasoning, and dried oregano. Mix well to combine. Set aside to cook the sausage.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Drizzle with approximately 1 tablespoon of olive oil swirling to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add the sausage in a single layer and cook each side for approximately 2-3 minutes. Remove the sausage to a clean plate and set aside.
- Return skillet to medium-high heat. Add an additional drizzle of olive oil, if needed, and add the shrimp to the skillet in a single layer. Cook each side for approximately 1-2 minutes, or until just cooked or just nearly cooked. Remove from the skillet to a clean plate and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil over high heat.
- As the water boils, return the skillet to medium heat. Add a bit more olive oil and the onions to the skillet. Mix well and cook the onions for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Add the diced bell pepper and continue to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring continuously.
- Add the cajun seasoning and tomatoes to the pan. Mix well to combine.
- Meanwhile, add the fettuccini noodles to the pot of boiling water. Use a large wooden spoon to stir the noodles and prevent them from sticking together. Cook until al dente.
- Stir in the granulated sugar and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat too low. Cover and simmer for approximately 5 minutes.
- Stir in the heavy cream and butter and add the shrimp and sausage back to the pot. Increase heat to medium and bring to a simmer- do not boil the cream.
- Stir in the cooked fettuccini noodles and shredded cheese, adding reserved pasta water as needed to thin the sauce.
- If you are sensitive to spicy foods or you’re not familiar with Cajun seasoning, start with half of the suggested amount listed above. You can always add more later.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)