Layered with flavor, this simple Cajun chicken and shrimp pasta is prepared with my signature Cajun spice blend in less than 30-minutes. Serve it up with a light salad and/or crusty bread and dinner is served.
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Aside from several mac and cheese recipes and this recipe for spring roll bowls, I have yet to share a pasta recipe with you all. Truth be told I don’t eat a lot of pasta. I prefer my carbs in the form of rice, potatoes, and bread.
When I do make pasta I tend to go all out, as evidenced by this spicy chicken and shrimp pasta. Chicken, shrimp, lotsa spices, butter, Parmesan, cream, and veggies – it’s got it all!!
What you’ll love about this recipe
- It’s a flavor bomb! Incredibly rich, a bit spicy, and loaded with plenty of my signature Cajun spice blend, fresh garlic and onions, and plenty of butter, this pasta is definitely not lacking in the flavor department. Each element of this dish is seasoned to perfection resulting in layers of flavor.
- It’s simple! Would you believe me if I told you that it takes less than 30-minutes to prepare it? Well you should, because it only takes about 25-minutes!!! Other than the pasta, it’s all cooked up in one sauté pan so the clean-up is a breeze. Sounds like a great choice for a weeknight dinner if I do say so myself.
- It’s filling! One of the best things about pasta is that it is typically very filling. Thank you carbs! This dish checks off all the sections of the food pyramid making it a complete meal. That means you don’t have to bother with sides at all (unless you want to).
Ingredients (+ notes & substitutions)
- Linguini pasta: Feel free to swap the linguini out for whichever variety of pasta you prefer. Other solid choices include fettuccine, penne, and farfalle.
- Paprika: Smoked paprika is preferable.
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Cayenne pepper: Calling for half a teaspoon of cayenne, this pasta is fairly spicy. If you’re not a fan of the heat, you may decrease the amount of cayenne or omit it. If on the other hand, you’d like to take it up a notch, you may double the amount of cayenne or add some red pepper flakes to taste at the end.
- Ground black pepper
- Ground white pepper: Often used in French and Chinese cooking, white pepper is milder than black pepper but more complex in flavor, often described as earthy and musty. If you’d like to up your spice game and don’t already have some, I highly recommend purchasing some white pepper for your spice cabinet.
- Dried oregano
- Dried thyme
- Kosher salt
- Chicken: I used a large chicken breast because that’s what I had. Chicken tenderloins or boneless chicken thighs would work as well though.
- Shrimp: The shrimp should be thawed, deshelled, and deveined. Tails off is preferred here but you could leave them intact if you’d like. To quickly thaw shrimp place them in a bowl and run them under cold water until thawed.
- Unsalted butter
- Bell pepper: I opted for a green bell pepper (mostly for the color) but a red bell pepper would be suitable as well.
- Onion: White or yellow are best for this dish.
- Chicken broth
- Heavy whipping cream: The base of the sauce.
- Parmesan cheese: For the sauce and to sprinkle on top prior to serving. It should be finely shredded so it melts efficiently.
- Fire-roasted tomatoes: You’ll need one 14.5-ounce can, undrained. My favorite brand is Muir Glen. They are organic, relatively inexpensive, and oh so tasty. I’ve included an Amazon link below should you wish to purchase them.
- Scallions: Optional, for garnishing. They add some freshness and a little crunch.
How to make Cajun chicken and shrimp pasta (+ tips)
1. Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions in salted water. Transfer the cooked pasta to a colander over the sink and run cold water over it to stop the cooking process.
2. Prepare the cajun spice mixture by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
3. In separate bowls, coat the chicken and the shrimp with two teaspoons each of the Cajun spice blend and set aside.
4. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked through. Transfer to a medium bowl.
5. Add another tablespoon of butter to the sauté pan. Once it has melted, add the shrimp and cook for 2-3-minutes then flip and cook another 2-3minutes until they are slightly browned and no longer opaque. I find it easiest to use a fork to flip the shrimp one by one. Transfer to the bowl with the chicken.
6. Melt the remaining butter in the sauté pan. Add the bell pepper and onion, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt, and cook for five minutes, tossing occasionally.
Add the garlic and cook for one minute then transfer the contents of the pan to the bowl with the chicken and shrimp.
7. Next you are going to deglaze the pan to remove all the stuck-on bits. Doing so will add a lot of flavor to the pasta. Pour in the chicken broth and use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape the pan.
8. Reduce the heat to medium, then add the heavy whipping cream, the remaining Cajun spice mixture, and the Parmesan cheese. Cook for three minutes stirring often then stir in the fire-roasted tomatoes.
9. Add the pasta, chicken, shrimp, and veggies, stirring to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes to warm everything back up then serve garnished with shredded Parmesan cheese and sliced scallions. For additional heat, sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to four days.
Because cayenne pepper is a component of the Cajun spice blend used in this pasta, it is a bit spicy. On the Scoville Scale, sitting right above Serrano peppers, cayenne peppers range anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000, similar to a Tobasco pepper. If you’re not a fan of spicy food or plan to serve this to children, you can reduce or omit the amount of cayenne.
Personally, I do not recommend freezing this dish as the noodles will likely get mushy. That, however, doesn’t mean you can’t freeze it. If you choose to do so, you will need to make sure to cool it completely prior to packaging it in an airtight container – freezer bags work great. It will keep in the freezer for up to three months.
Although you could reheat it in the microwave, I recommend you use the stovetop method instead. Place the pasta in a sauté pan over medium-low heat with a couple of splashes of milk. Cook, stirring occasionally until heated through.
What should I serve with this spicy chicken and shrimp pasta?
- A light salad.
- Crusty bread with butter or cornbread.
- Hush puppies or these hush puppy corn dog bites.
- Corn or green beans.
- A glass of wine.
If you make this spicy Cajun chicken and shrimp pasta I’d love your feedback. Please leave a comment and/or a rating below as I greatly value your opinion. Or snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @taoofspiceblog. Love, light, and happy cooking ya’ll ♥
For the pasta
- 16 ounces linguini pasta
- 1 pound chicken breasts, tenderloins, or boneless thighs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 /2 pound medium thawed shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium-large green bell pepper, could sub for red, sliced
- 1/2 small white or yellow onion, cut into strips
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 -14.5 ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
Cajun Spice Blend
- 1/2 tablespoon paprika, preferably smoked
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper + plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions in salted water. Transfer the cooked pasta to a colander over the sink and run cold water over it until cool.
- Prepare the cajun spice mixture by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
- In separate bowls, coat the chicken and the shrimp with two teaspoons each of the Cajun spice blend and set aside.
- Melt a tablespoon of butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked through then transfer to a medium bowl.
- Add another tablespoon of butter to the sauté pan. Once melted, add the shrimp and cook for 2-3-minutes then flip and cook another 2-3 minutes until cooked through and slightly browned. Transfer to the bowl with the chicken.
- Melt the remaining butter in the sauté pan. Add the bell pepper and onion, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and cook for five minutes tossing occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for one minute then transfer the contents of the pan to the bowl with the chicken and shrimp.
- Pour the chicken broth into the pan and scrape with a wooden spoon or spatula to deglaze.
- Reduce the heat to medium, then add the heavy whipping cream, the remaining Cajun spice mixture, and the parmesan cheese. Cook for three minutes stirring often.
- Add the fire-roasted tomatoes, pasta, chicken, shrimp, and veggies, stirring to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes to warm everything back up then serve garnished with shredded parmesan cheese and sliced scallions. For additional heat, sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to four days.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 951Total Fat: 47gSaturated Fat: 23gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 533mgSodium: 2270mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 85g
The nutritional information provided is computer generated. It is only an estimate and intended for informational purposes only. Nutrition details may vary depending on various factors such as origin, freshness of ingredients, etc