Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Creamy Cajun-ish Shrimp Pasta

If you are on a diet, I suggest you go elsewhere. Well, not forever, just for this post. What's not to love about this pasta? It's creamy. It's spicy. It's very, very not healthy. It's glorious. Let's begin.

First, you need to fill a large pot with water and get it boiling for the fettuccine noodles. Let's do some prep work. It will make your life a whole lot easier, trust me. You will need 1 cup of green onions, 1 T. fresh basil, 1 T. fresh thyme, a huge handful of fresh parsley and 2 cloves of garlic.

I highly, highly recommend that you use fresh herbs for this recipe. It really does, in this case, make a huge difference. I would also suggest that you use flat leaf parsley, but if your grocery store is prejudice against it like mine is, you can use curly. The easiest way to cut the basil is to roll it into one piece and then chiffonade into thin pieces. Yes, that's right, I watch the Food Network. Make sure that you remove the thyme from the stems, because they are tough and you won't want to bite down on that. Remove thyme leaves from stems by holding the top of a sprig and stripping the leaves downward.

Once you have the herbs chopped, you can cut up the 1 cup of green onions and 2 cloves of garlic. We happen to love garlic around here, so I used more than 2 cloves, a lot more.

When everything is chopped, it will look like this. Isn't it pretty?

The water should be boiling by now in your pasta pot, so throw in 1 pound of fettuccine noodles and cook until al dente.

There is one more prep step. You will need 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese. Don't like Swiss? You can use mozzarella. No worries. I used a little more than 1/2 cup. I don't really measure when I cook. I am much more of a throw it all in kind of gal. Ok, grab the rest of the ingredients. You will need 1 1/2 lbs. shrimp, 2 c. heavy whipping cream, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.

I used frozen shrimp. I am sure that fresh shrimp would be better, but they kind of creep me out. This is way easier, no removing of veins or weird exoskeletons. I thawed them overnight in my refrigerator and then I dried them thoroughly with paper towels so that there would be no excess water. I also pulled the tails off just because I didn't think it would be fun to chew on those during the meal. Ok, are you ready? Here we go.

This is 2 c. heavy whipping cream. Put your cream in a large skillet and heat it over medium heat until it is just about ready to boil. You will need to stir this so that it won't scald and don't plan on wandering off or you will be in huge big trouble when the cream revolts. Just trust me.

Can you see those little bubbles around the edge? Perfect. Turn the heat down and add in the herbs, onions, garlic, 1 tsp. salt, 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper and 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes. If you don't like your meals really spicy, cut back on the pepper flakes. Like it more spicy? Add a little bit of cayenne pepper. Cook this for about, oh, 8 minutes until it has thickened. Smell the deliciousness.

Once the sauce has thickened, add the cheeses. Stir well so that they don't clump or stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add the shrimp. DO NOT overcook these, you are just heating them through. If you are using real shrimp then you will need to cook until pink, but these are already cooked and just need to be heated.
Add your fettuccine noodles and gently toss. As soon as the noodles have been covered in the sauce, you are done! See? Not so bad!!

Sigh. Isn't it pretty? Well, not as pretty as it would have been if my camera had a decent flash, but you get the idea. This is even better heated up the next day. Brad's co-workers think he is one lucky guy when he brings this for lunch. Then again, his co-workers are easily impressed and eat bologna sandwiches that they buy at the gas station. At any rate, I think this is amazing and you should try it!
Creamy Cajun-ish Shrimp Pasta
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup chopped parsley
1-1/2 pound shrimp
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 box fettuccine noodles
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Chop up the herbs, onions and garlic; set aside. Pour cream into large skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until almost boiling. Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the herbs, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, onions, garlic and parsley. Simmer 7 to 8 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in cheeses until well mixed. Add shrimp. Once shrimp are cooked, add the drained pasta noodles. Gently toss until thoroughly coated. Serve.


Elizabeth said...

Oh, Estee, O'Charley's has a similar recipe and I love it! But, now that I know what goes into it, I fear I just can't look at it the same... :-( So yummy, but apparently so bad for you! Oh well, maybe a splurge for special occasions! Keep posting these recipes... lord knows I can't cook! :-)

Elizabeth said...

Oh, and I have been meaning to tell you... this is an absolutely amazing blog... go back and read the archived entries... trust me, you will be hooked! She just wrote a book (I bought it, but it shipped to my parent's house accidentally)... she is a huge inspiration! I have all my lady friends reading her blog!


shopgirlaudi said...

So loving your little cooking "how to's". You're just like Rachel Ray;)

Jane said...

Oh my goodness!!! I am convinced you must be a wonderful cook!!! AND this looks so good!!!!

Vicki said...

This sounds fabulous! I must try making. We love shrimp and pasta.

Brook said...

Yummy... once again. I would 100% love to be your dinner guest. Anytime. ;)

I'm definitely going to try this one. Lately I've been making more meals like this. Groceries are getting so expensive and pasta is cheap and filling!