This Creamy Cajun Pasta with Shrimp is made in just 15 minutes, using only a handful of simple pantry ingredients. Perfect for busy weeknights when you just need something quick and delicious.
Loaded with succulent shrimp and just the right amount of kick this recipe is sure to be a family favorite!
This creamy cajun pasta with shrimp was a huge hit with my Alfredo sauce loving husband and I love it so much more then a traditional Alfredo!
Large juicy shrimp get sautéed in a cajun spice blend and tossed with your favorite pasta in a light creamy sauce.
Creamy Cajun Pasta Ingredients:
Pasta: you can use any type of pasta for this recipe but we really like farfalle or fettuccine for this recipe!
Shrimp: peeled, deveined shrimp rinsed and patted dry. We buy peeled and deveined shrimp. It is just so time-consuming to clean them all!
Cajun seasoning: your favorite cajun seasoning blend. Our grocery store also started carrying low sodium cajun spice mix options! If you like your cajun pasta spicy add more cajun seasoning to the cream sauce.
Lemon: fresh lemon juice gives the sauce another layer of flavor and a tiny bit of acidity to cut the heaviness of the cream sauce. If you don’t have lemon a splash of dry white wine would be a good substitute.
Half and half: we use half and half over heavy whipping cream because we always have it on hand and it still has enough fat content to keep the sauce from splitting. Heavy cream or whole milk work great as well.
Pasta water: The starch from the pasta water adds a silky richness to your sauce and helps it thicken! Generously salt the pasta water. This is what makes restaurant pasta so delicious and since we are using the pasta water in the sauce it is extra important in this recipe!
Parmesan cheese: obviously a good cream sauce needs lots of Parmesan cheese!
Parsley: I love to top this creamy cajun pasta with fresh parsley for color and brightness.
Instructions for Creamy Cajun Pasta
Add pasta of choice to a large pot of boiling well salted water. Cook the pasta to al dente, according to the package instructions.
Reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Drain your pasta and set aside.
In a medium bowl toss the raw shrimp with kosher salt, black pepper, and cajun seasoning. If your creole seasoning is already salty skip the extra salt.
Melt butter in a large pan set over medium-high heat, add the seasoned shrimp and sear until just pink.
Turn off the heat and pour the lemon juice over the shrimp. Transfer the shrimp to a clean plate and set aside.
To the same pan, add 2 tablespoons of butter and the garlic. Cook 1 minute, until fragrant, then pour in the half and half and 1/2 a cup of pasta water. If you like spicer pasta add more cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper at this point. Whisk until smooth.
Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and cook for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Stir in 1 cup parmesan cheese, then toss in the cooked pasta. Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked shrimp.
Serve immediately topped with fresh parsley and more cheese!
Tips for Creamy Cajun Pasta
Storing and Reheating your Creamy Cajun Pasta with Shrimp:
Store your leftover Creamy Cajun Pasta with Shrimp in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
To reheat you pasta add a little water to the pasta before microwaving until heated through.
What is Pasta Water?
Pasta water is the leftover liquid after the pasta has been cooked, and it’s starchy, salty goodness is key to an amazing sauce. I like to reserve a cup of water when cooking pasta to use as needed. The starch in pasta water is a great natural thickening agent and will also help the sauce stick to the pasta.
What can I use instead of pasta water?
Chicken broth is a nice substitution for the pasta water just simmer your sauce longer to make up for the lack of starch.
What can I use instead of shrimp?
This recipe is also delicious with chicken breast! Simply cut your chicken into bite size pieces, toss with cajun seasoning, and cook in your skillet until cooked through the same as you would would the shrimp.