Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cajun Shrimp Pasta

Dinner tonight was freaking delish!
Too good not to share.

Cajun shrimp pasta.  Based on a recipe from my step-mom, Kathy, who was born and raised in Louisiana.  I have to admit though, I've never written the recipe down... which is why I say it is 'based' on her recipe.  I am positive that it's pretty darn close though.  Every time I make it I do so off the cuff; the result is something a bit different each time.

I like to have fresh pasta for this dish.  I feel like it really makes it.  You know-- gives it that extra touch of awesomeness.  I am not, however, going to go through how to make fresh pasta during this post.

This dish will cook up fast, so you will want to get your water set to boil while everything else is cooking.  If you use fresh pasta it will only take about 3-4 minutes to cook once the water is boiling.  Contrary to popular belief, do NOT add oil to your pasta water.  Your sauce will not stick to the pasta if you do.  Instead, once you drain it, toss in .5 tbsp of butter and some fresh grated parmigiana. 

Ok, enough the the pasta already.  You'll start with about 2 or 3 small stalks of celery finely chopped, and half an onion roughly chopped.
And butter.  This recipe will use a copious decent amount of butter.  

Turn your burner on medium/med-high (depending on your range) and toss in about 2-2.5 tbsp of butter.  When it's all melted toss in round one of veggies.  You will want to let these cook up for 6-10 minutes.

 Veggies round two: half a red pepper, half a green pepper, and a good chunk of asparagus.  All chopped roughly.  

Normally I throw some tomato in there too... but I spaced this time.  I have to say I didn't notice the difference.  In fact, of all the times I have made this, this time came out the best.  So maybe I will leave it out from now on.

So toss in round two.  If most of your butter seems spent from round one-- throw in another tbsp.

You want to make sure you are using a large enough pan so that the vegetables are mostly in a single layer.  This is important because if your pan is too small, and your veggies are two inches deep, you will end up steaming them and the result will be a soggy mess.  Keep that in mind if you ever make stir-fry and don't have a proper wok (I don't).

Let rounds one and two of veggies saute together, stirring occasionally, until just after the asparagus turns a neon green.
Pour this awesome smelling mixture in a bowl off to the side.

 Next up-- the shrimp.  You will want about a pound.  Peeled and deveined.  I leave the tails on, but that is just a matter of aesthetics. 

In your now empty pan throw in another 1.5-2 tbsp of butter.  Then add the shrimp.
On top of that tasty shrimp press 2 cloves of garlic, sprinkle some pepper, parsley, and dried chili flakes to taste (depends on how much of a kick you want).
Also some Cajun seasoning.  I use Tony's Creole Seasoning-- at Kathy's suggestion.  I omit salting anything at this point because the Tony's seasoning has a decent amount of sodium in it already.

After about 2 minutes on one side, stir the shrimp.  Turn your pan up to med-high and add a splash of a dry white wine.  It should quickly evaporate by half.  Only about 2 more minutes is necessary for the shrimp-- you don't want to overcook them or they will become rubbery.  No one likes a rubbery shrimp.

Gently mix in your veggies to reheat them.  Taste your sauce and adjust any seasonings accordingly.
VoilĂ ! 


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