Talk about comfort food....
HEB had big gulf, white shrimp on sale so I decided to pick some up one day last week and well...creamy pasta is my weakness! Not knowing really how I'd cook the shrimp at the time of purchase (we normally have grilled shrimp kabobs on a regular basis) I thought...I really want something different & delicious. Not that grilled shrimp isn't delicious (unless you're Amanda or Momma B :P) I just wanted something "different!" One our favorite Italian restaurants is Caffe Capri located in downtown Bryan. They have the MOST delicious Cajun fettuccine (we always add crab). It was always a great date place for Allen and I. Well, I decided I'm going to attempt to make Cajun fettuccine with my plump shrimp purchase just like Caffe Capri :) so I searched the internet for recipes (I sure miss all my cookbooks that are packed in storage) and came across two that I liked & decided I'd combine the recipes to hopefully get the result I wanted (not very often to I actually follow a recipe, I think I get that from my Nana - she never used recipes)...made my grocery list, went to the store, came home & started cooking! Oh my gosh...it turned out amazing! It was so close to Caffe Capri's, if not even better! I told Allen, I even impressed myself with this one!
Now...don't be turned away IF you are not into seafood or shrimp! This recipe could easily be made with chicken and after all who doesn't like chicken fettuccine?! And if *spicy* or *cajun* isn't your thing either...you could always omit the hot spices, that's the great thing about recipes! You can tweak, omit, add, create your own to your liking. Either way give this recipe a try, I promise you won't regret it! Just your waistline might...but it's okay to splurge and this is definitely better for you than going out to eat for fettuccine. Also, I thought this recipe was incredibly easy to make considering it was my very first time to attempt alfredo type sauce from scratch.
Creamy Cajun Seafood Pasta
1/4 cup butter (I used 2 tablespoons)
1 lb shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 to 2 packages of ready to eat imitation crab (or the real stuff if you want, Allen really likes crab so I did 2 pkgs)
1 cup milk (I used whole for extra creaminess & yes, fat!)
1 cup heavy whipping cream (16 oz carton)
1 glove garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Cajun seasoning to taste (depending on how spicy you want it, I just add & taste until I get it to where I like it)
1 package of fettuccine, angel hair, bow-tie whatever pasta you like/want
Pecorino Romano & grated Parmesan cheese (palm full of each)
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al-dente, drain. (I let water boil while I'm cooking seafood & sauce...don't like my pasta to get cold)
Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute shrimp for 1 minute or until almost white, stir in minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Remove shrimp with slotted spoon; set aside. Stir in flour and Cajun seasoning. Cook about 5 minutes or until flour as been cooked down. Whisk in milk and heavy cream, then cook until thickened. Stir in Pecorino Romano & Parmesan cheese. Add crab and shrimp to sauce. Remove from heat. Pour sauce over cooked pasta and gently mix sauce into pasta. Garnish with chopped parsley, more cheese, & fresh cracked black pepper.
Dinner is ready...sit & enjoy!
If you would rather have chicken, saute chicken breast to your liking and add to sauce the same as you would seafood. I would not season the chicken because the sauce has so much seasoning in it. You could also add scallops to this pasta. If so, saute the scallops with the shrimp then proceed.
Also, if you do not have Cajun seasoning on hand - you do NOT need to go out & buy some. Here are the spices I used in the recipe to create the Cajun seasoning: Cayenne pepper, onion powder, paprika, black pepper, ground white pepper, sea salt, red crushed pepper, garlic powder, celery salt. Sorry, I just keep adding spices until I like the taste...I seldom every measure so can't give you exact measurements. I do know that the cayenne pepper, onion powder, paprika, sea salt, and ground white pepper is what I used the most of. OR if you have Cajun seasoning or Tony Chachere's use that! Tony Chachere's is a stample in our pantry but making my own Cajun seasoning was fun.
If you have ever made cream country breakfast gravy, this cream sauce is the same concept. Just keep whisking milk/heavy cream until thick & to prevent burning. Also, if you would rather not use heavy whipping cream, you can use 2 cups of cow's milk instead.
Hope you enjoy! Would love to know if you try this recipe! It is even great the next day for leftovers. Allen said this recipe is definitely a keeper & wants me to make it again & again. BON APPETIT!