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Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Pasta is a dish that melds the heartiness of Italian pasta with the spirited zest of Southern cuisine. Ready in just 30 minutes, this recipe is an ideal choice for both busy weeknights and leisurely weekend dinners. It’s a straightforward, flavor-packed meal that brings a fusion of global tastes right to your plate.
The lively spice of Cajun seasoning enhances the succulent shrimp and hearty slices of Andouille sausage, while heavy cream and parmesan cheese meld to create a lusciously creamy sauce that coats every strand of pasta. Fire-roasted diced tomatoes add a smoky depth, while a garnish of fresh parsley lends a fresh, colorful finish. It’s a dish that brings warmth, comfort and an easy way to spice up your dinner routine.
Table of Contents
Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Pasta Ingredients
- Shrimp: Choose medium-sized, fresh or frozen shrimp. If frozen, make sure they’re properly thawed for even cooking.
- Cajun Seasoning: Look for a blend that includes spices like paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and cayenne for an authentic Cajun flavor.
- Linguine: Use a high-quality linguine pasta for the best texture.
- Butter: Any variety of butter fits this recipe, but a high-fat content butter can add a richer flavor.
- Olive Oil: Use a good quality extra-virgin olive oil for its flavor and cooking properties.
- Garlic: Choose plump, firm garlic cloves with unbroken skin.
- Andouille Sausage: Look for authentic Andouille sausage for its distinct smoky and spicy flavor profile.
- Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes: Choose a brand that offers a deep, smoky flavor to enhance the dish.
- Heavy Cream: A heavy cream with higher fat (36% or higher) makes for a richer, creamier sauce.
- Parmesan Cheese: Freshly grated Parmesan cheese is ideal for the best flavor.
- Parsley: If available, use fresh, flat leaf parsley for garnish to add a bright, herbal touch to the dish.
Choosing the Right Cajun Seasoning
When choosing a Cajun seasoning blend, keep in mind that different brands can vary significantly in their levels of saltiness and spiciness. Some may pack a punch with heat, while others might be milder but saltier. For the most flexibility, consider using a salt-free version. This allows you to control the salt level in your dish separately, adjusting both the seasoning’s heat and the recipe’s overall saltiness to suit your taste perfectly.
- Alternative Pastas: Use fettuccine or spaghetti if linguine isn’t available or you have another favorite long, slender pasta.
- Cheese Variations: Try Romano or Asiago cheese instead of Parmesan for a different taste profile.
- Add Greens: Toss in baby spinach or arugula at the end for a nutritious, easy addition that wilts nicely into the warm pasta.
- Homemade Fire-Roasted Tomatoes: Make your own fire-roasted tomatoes (oven broiled) for a simple and flavorful way to elevate this dish.
6 Mistakes to Avoid
- Overcooking the Shrimp: Be cautious not to overcook the shrimp. They should be cooked just until they’re pink and opaque to maintain their tenderness.
- Ignoring Pasta Doneness: Don’t overlook the pasta’s cooking time. Aim for al dente, as overcooked pasta becomes mushy and won’t hold up well with the sauce.
- Skimping on Cajun Seasoning: Be generous with the Cajun seasoning. A timid hand might leave your dish lacking in that signature spicy kick.
- Neglecting the Sauce Consistency: Pay attention to the consistency of your sauce. It should be creamy but not overly thick. Adjust with pasta water if needed.
- Not Tasting as You Go: Always taste your dish as you cook. Adjusting the seasoning throughout the cooking process is key to achieving the right balance.
- Letting Ingredients Stick or Burn: Keep an eye on the heat. Sautéing garlic, shrimp, and sausage at too high a temperature can cause them to stick to the pan or burn.
Storage and Reheating Instructions
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, gently warm it in a saucepan over medium heat, adding a splash of water (ideally leftover pasta water) or broth to loosen the sauce if necessary. Avoid microwaving as it can unevenly heat and potentially overcook the shrimp. It’s not a good idea to freeze this dish due to the creamy sauce and tender shrimp which may not freeze well.
More Delicious Cajun Recipes
How to Make Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Pasta
Toss shrimp with Cajun seasoning in a medium bowl and set aside. Cook linguine in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, then drain, saving 1 cup of the pasta water.
In a skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium-high heat, then add garlic, cooking until fragrant. Add the seasoned shrimp to the skillet, cooking until just done, and transfer them to a plate.
In the same skillet, brown the sausage and then add it to the plate with the shrimp. Pour fire-roasted diced tomatoes and their liquid into the skillet, cooking until the liquid reduces. Lower the heat, mix in heavy cream and parmesan cheese, and simmer until the sauce thickens.
Return the cooked pasta, shrimp, sausage, and any accumulated juices to the skillet, stirring until everything is heated through and the sauce reaches your desired consistency. Add reserved pasta water for a thinner sauce if needed. Adjust seasoning with more Cajun spice as desired, and serve garnished with parsley.
Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Pasta
- 1/2 pound medium shrimp peeled and deveined
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning or more to taste (recipe note #1)
- 8 ounces linguine or other long, slender pasta
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1/2 pound Andouille sausage sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
- 1 14 1/2-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes with liquid
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 ounces grated parmesan cheese about 2/3 cup
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional
- In a medium bowl combine shrimp and Cajun seasoning; toss to coat. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook linguine in boiling, salted water according to package directions until firm to the bite (al dente). Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.
- While the pasta cooks, heat butter and olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shrimp; cook and stir until shrimp is just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a clean plate with a slotted spoon, leaving excess fat behind.
- Add sausage to skillet; cook and stir until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to plate with shrimp.
- Add tomatoes with liquid to same skillet and bring to boil; cook and stir until liquid is reduced by half, 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in heavy cream and parmesan cheese; bring to simmer. Cook and stir until cheese has melted and sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.
- Add drained, cooked pasta, shrimp, sausage and any accumulated liquid to skillet; cook and stir until well combined, heated through and sauce has thickened to your desired consistency. Or, if you prefer a thinner sauce, add reserved pasta water a little at a time as desired. Taste for seasoning and add more Cajun seasoning if you like. Transfer to serving platter or individual pasta bowls and garnish with parsley (if using); serve.
- The amount of salt in Cajun seasoning varies widely by brand, so start out with a bit less than the recipe calls for and add more taste. If you’re using a salt-free seasoning (my preference), add 1 1/2 teaspoons of seasoning and 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt. This way, you can add more of each to taste.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.