There are certain dishes I throw together without a single thought, measurement, or care in the world. They’re usually accompanied by a desperate need to restock the fridge and always a last minute endeavor. Sometimes the result is simply okay, but sometimes it’s pure freaking magic.
So magical, in fact, that your husband comes home from the grocery store with the exact ingredients needed to remake the dish and does the whole “Imma leave these right here and let you do your thing mmkay?” song and dance.
After repeating the dish several times over the course of the month I figured I should probably suck it up and get out my measuring spoons so I can share the love with my blog buds. Today’s that day. I hope this super simple, uber flavorful dish rocks your face! We love it so.
Creamy Cajun Shrimp and Broccoli Pasta
This delicious Creamy Cajun Shrimp and Broccoli Pasta makes an easy lunch or dinner! The cajun zing adds a nice burst of flavor to this tasty plate of pasta.
- 25 medium raw shrimp [see below]
- 2 cups bowtie/farfalle pasta
- 1 + 1/2 cups broccoli florets
- 1/2 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp parsley
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 clove of garlic, smashed and minced
- 1/4 cup half and half [half cream; half milk]
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning blend
- additional salt and pepper, to taste
- a sprinkle of paprika
- extra Parmesan, for topping
- note: keep an extra bit of milk or half and half on hand to thin the sauce at the end as needed. I'll sometimes add a few extra tablespoons at the end.
- tip: eliminate food waste by shredding the raw, unused broccoli stalk into broccoli slaw for salads or coleslaw, or by juicing it along with your favorite fruits and veggies!
- Defrost shrimp if using frozen. If using whole shrimp, clean/peel/de-vein shrimp as needed.
- If using fresh, set aside and grab your pasta!
- Cook pasta as directed until tender.
- Next steam or blanch your broccoli tops. Save time and dishes by blanching them quickly in the pot of boiling pasta water. You can do this during the last minute or two of the pasta's cook time.
- While your pasta and broccoli cook, bring a pan/skillet to medium-high heat with 1/2 tsp of olive oil.
- Add the shrimp and toss to coat, then top with garlic powder, parsley, and salt.
- Cook shrimp until pink and opaque, adding the garlic in for a quick saute towards the end to prevent it from burning. If the pan is dry you can add a smidgen of olive oil before adding the garlic.
- Drain the pasta and add back into the pot.
- To coat my pasta in teeny broccoli "sprinkles" versus chunks of broccoli, I use a knife to slice off the very top portion of the broccoli, avoiding the stalk altogether.
- I save the leftover broccoli to make a basil-broccoli pesto or freeze them to use in mac and cheese recipes. Feel free to add large chunks into your pasta if you prefer! It's great both ways!
- Reduce heat to medium setting and pour in the half and half, cheese, and cajun seasoning.
- Stir constantly until the dairy thickens into a delicious sauce.
- Add in your shrimp along with your broccoli and stir to coat.
- Taste, then add any additional seasoning you'd like. Extra cajun kick is always welcome!
- At this point you may also want to add a little more milk to thin the sauce. Add 2-3 tablespoons and give it a good stir!
- Plate then top with a sprinkle of paprika and a light shaving of Parmesan cheese. Yum!
When it comes to the shrimp you use, fret not. What works for you works for this recipe! My one rule is that you cook from frozen. Pre-cooked shrimp has a rubbery texture that just isn't worth your money. Shrimp cooks so quickly that you can save time by buying it fresh or save a little money by buying it frozen. When it comes to frozen shrimp, you can do the prep-work yourself or buy the already peeled and deveined, up to you! As for size, any size will work! If you have larger shrimp on hand feel free to use less for this recipe or you can use a smaller sized shrimp like I did. You can measure them out or just eyeball what you would consider two servings of shrimp would be. Simply season accordingly.
What are you waiting for? Dig in!