Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou...

A long while ago, my husband mentioned that he was in the mood for some sort of Cajun pasta.  It was around Lent, so I thought - why not make it a Cajun shrimp pasta and kill two birds with one stone?  The problem was finding the perfect recipe.  I wanted one that didn't use heavy cream and also one that wasn't too spicy or complicated.

Basically, I wanted something that didn't exist.

My sister-in-law shared her recipe with me (which was a huge help), but sort of like all recipes that are awesome - it didn't involve a whole lot of perfect measurements or instructions.  Those are absolutely my favorite recipes - the ones that you know are finished by a feeling rather than by a window of time or oven setting.

Those recipes are also very difficult to replicate.

SO, using her suggestions as a guideline and another recipe as framework, I set out to make my own Cajun shrimp pasta.  I'm happy to say, it was a wild success.  I'm also happy to say, that I actually wrote down what I did so I can share it with you here.

Who's hungry?

{Cajun Shrimp Pasta}

- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. of shrimp (I use frozen, forgive me.)
- 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
- Cajun seasoning (probably about a tablespoon, but you're just going to eyeball it)
- juice from 1-2 lemons
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- Garlic powder (you'll use less than the Cajun, but ditto about the eyeballing)
- Sliced mushrooms (one small can or 4-5 fresh; dealer's choice)
- 1 red bell pepper (sliced)
- 3/4 cup of milk
- 2 tablespoons of cream cheese
- 1/2 box of whole wheat linguine (cooked)
- fresh shredded parmesan
- ground pepper
- kosher salt

Look at the size of this pepper! Insanity.


- Start by thawing (if necessary) and marinading your pound of shrimp.  I like mine being cleaned and deveined, but if you're so inclined do all that yourself - go for it.  Toss shrimp in olive oil, minced garlic, juice of half a lemon, and Cajun seasoning.  Let it sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

- After your shrimp has had time to marinade, melt two tablespoons of butter in a large skillet and sauté the shrimp in it.  At this point you can add another good sprinkle of the Cajun seasoning as well as some garlic powder.

- Let this simmer until the shrimp is mostly cooked and then add the mushrooms and the sliced bell pepper.  Meanwhile, you can start boiling your linguine.

- Stir everything around so it gets nice and covered in the butter and squirt in some more fresh lemon juice.

- Add milk and cream cheese to the pan.  [Side note: You can use any sort of cream cheese you want. We almost always have Chive & Onion in our house, so that's usually what I use.  The cream cheese just aids in the sauce-thickening process.]

- Let all of that cook down until it becomes a nice, creamy sauce.  I usually like to let the sauce thicken up to the point where it starts to coat the spoon when I stir it.

- Toss in the linguine, add the parmesan, and season with the kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.  PREPARE TO BE AMAZED.

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