Cajun Shrimp Pasta
1 tablespoon kosher salt
8 ounces penne pasta
1 pound raw shrimp (deveined, cleaned, tail removed)
2 tablespoons cajun seasoning (*see note below, use this quantity if making the attached homemade seasoning blend; may turn out too salty if using store bought)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup parmesan cheese (finely grated from a block (a microplane works best); pre-grated or not real authentic parmesan won't melt as nicely)
Add salt to pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook pasta to al dente doneness. Before draining, scoop out at least ½ cup of the cooking water. Drain pasta and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, cook the shrimp and sauce. Combine shrimp with cajun seasoning and olive oil in bowl. Toss to combine.
Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Add butter and melt. Add shrimp in a single layer and cook until golden brown on each side, turning only once. You may have to cook shrimp in two batches to allow enough room. Once done cooking, transfer cooked shrimp to a clean plate and reduce heat to medium low.
Add heavy cream to pan and scrape bottoms to release any food that is stuck to the bottom. Allow cream to bubble. Reduce heat to low and stir in parmesan cheese to melt. Add cooked pasta and shrimp and stir to coat. If sauce needs to be thinned, add pasta water, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is achieved.
*Homemade Cajun Seasoning Blend
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons onion salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Combine all spices in small bowl. Use as a dry rub on poultry, beef, shrimp, etc. You can also add to sauces and soups. Store in airtight container.
Prep Time: 5 min Cook Time: 10 min Total Time: 15 min