Cajun shrimp and sausage pasta is a spice lover's dream! Plump, Cajun-seasoned shrimp are seared and tossed with Andouille sausage and fettuccine in a simple sauce and topped with green onion. Perfect for weeknights, Mardi Gras celebrations, and anytime in between!
Cajun shrimp and sausage pasta is definitely a favorite in our home.
We love the flavor the Cajun spice imparts on the pasta, the shrimp, and the Andouille sausage.
Besides the Cajun spice, what makes this a Cajun dish is the use of the "trinity", a blend of bell peppers, celery, and onion.
Similar to a French mirepoix (onions, celery, carrots), the trinity is the flavor base for most Cajun and Creole dishes, including étouffée, jambalaya, and gumbo.
Cajun shrimp pasta with Andouille is a bit of a riff on Pastalaya, a pasta dish found in and around Louisiana, and while this is great for Mardi Gras celebrations, we find ourselves making this all year long because it's so easy and damn good.
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Prepare your ingredients by dicing 2 large bell peppers, 1 medium onion, and 3 ribs of celery. Slice 12 ounces of Andouille sausage; slice 5 green onions. If needed, peel and devein 2 pounds of shrimp.
- Bring a large pot of salted water (2 tablespoons of kosher salt per gallon of water) to boil. Place the cleaned shrimp into a bowl and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning and give it a mix. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes before moving on to the next step.
- Heat your largest pan to medium heat and sear the shrimp in olive oil. After 1-2 minutes, flip them over to allow the gray parts to cook.
- After a total of 3-4 minutes, the shrimp should be cooked through. Remove the shrimp from the pan and place them on a large plate, tented with foil to stay warm.
- Add the Andouille sausage to the same pan and cook for a few minutes per side or until some color develops. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausage and place it on the same plate as the shrimp. Note: I switched pans (you might need to do this if not using a 14-inch sized pan). It's better to use the same pan though, because you will get more flavor from deglazing it.
- Add the diced onions, peppers, and celery to the pan and saute for about 10-12 minutes per side or until they take on a little color and soften. If needed, add a touch more olive oil to the pan. At this point, the salted water should be boiling and ready for you to add 1 pound of fettuccine to the water. Cook the pasta for 2-3 minutes less than al dente.
- Once the peppers have softened, add 2 cups of low-sodium chicken stock and 1 ½ tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce to the pan and bring to a simmer. Using a wooden spoon, dislodge the brown bits from the pan.
- Lower the heat a touch and add ¾ cup of heavy cream. Once mixed through raise the temperature back to medium and bring the sauce to a simmer.
- Once the sauce starts to thicken after 2-3 minutes, add the pasta and continue to simmer while stirring frequently.
- If needed, use a ladle and add some of the reserved pasta water to keep everything moist while the pasta cooks. Note: The pasta will absorb the liquid during the cooking process, so you might need to add up to 2-3 ladles of pasta water to prevent it from drying out.
- Add the sausage and shrimp about 1 minute before the pasta reaches al dente, then turn off the heat.
- Add the green onions and give it a taste test. Add more of the remaining 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning a little at a time, to taste. Note: The spice level of the Andouille and the Cajun seasoning you use will vary which is why we recommend treading lightly and just adding a little at a time until it meets your satisfaction. If the pasta is at all dry, add a bit of reserved pasta water to thin it out. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Top tips for Cajun shrimp and sausage pasta
- The shrimp. We used U21-25 shrimp for this recipe, which means 21-25 shrimp per pound. If you'd like to use different-sized shrimp you can but we find this size is perfect for even distribution throughout the final dish. If you can find peeled, deveined shrimp, you can use those as that will cut down on prep time. We also recommend adding a ½ teaspoon of baking soda along with the Cajun spice to the shrimp about 10 minutes prior to cooking to allow the shrimp to stay more plump during the searing process.
- The sausage. Andouille sausage is strongly recommended for Cajun shrimp pasta. If you can't find Andouille, chorizo or kielbasa would be acceptable substitutes.
- The Cajun seasoning. The seasoning in this dish is key to the Cajun flavor in this dish. We used Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning as it's widely regarded as a good quality, authentic Cajun seasoning. Since salt and heat levels vary depending on the seasoning you use, we recommend taste testing along the way.
- The sauce. Unlike our Cajun chicken pasta, this is not a tomato-based sauce. The sauce is flavored with the trinity, and includes chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, and cream. If you would like to add a touch of tomato paste you certainly can. Additionally, if you'd like to make this sauce creamier, you can add another half to ¾ cup of cream. Be sure to reserve your pasta water to loosen the sauce if it dries out at all.
More favorite recipes
In addition to the creamy Cajun chicken pasta we mentioned above, we think you'll love these other great recipes.
- Lemon garlic shrimp pasta - Shrimp tossed with pasta in a garlicky lemon-butter sauce.
- Chicken Alfredo pasta - Blackened chicken is tossed with pappardelle in a buttery Parmigiano Reggiano sauce.
- Shrimp fra diavolo - Sauteed shrimp tossed with pasta in a spicy tomato sauce.
- Shrimp scampi rolls - Garlicky shrimp scampi piled on top of rolls - like a lobster roll but budget-friendly!
- Spicy pepper bucatini - Long hot and cubanelle peppers make a spicy tomato sauce tossed with pasta.
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- 1 pound fettuccine or linguine, spaghetti, etc
- 2 pounds shrimp cleaned and deveined
- 2 tablespoons Cajun spice seasoning divided, plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 12 ounces Andouille sausage thin sliced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large bell peppers diced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 3 ribs celery diced
- 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 1 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 5 green onions sliced
- 2 cups reserved pasta water will most likely not need it all
- Bring a large pot of salted water (2 tablespoons kosher salt) to boil. In a bowl mix shrimp with baking soda and 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning and wait 10 minutes before cooking.
- Heat your largest pan to medium heat and sear the shrimp in olive oil until cooked through (about 3-4 minutes). Place the shrimp on a plate and tent with foil.
- Add the Andouille sausage to the same pan and cook for a couple of minutes per side or until some color develops. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and place it on the same plate as the shrimp and keep tented with foil.
- Add the onions, peppers, and celery to the pan and saute for about 10-12 minutes or until they take on some color and soften considerably. If needed, add a touch more olive oil for the saute process. At this time begin boiling the pasta to 2-3 minutes less than al dente.
- Once the peppers are soft add in the chicken stock and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. With a wooden spoon scrape up all of the brown bits from the pan.
- Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Once the sauce starts to thicken (about 2-3 minutes) add the pasta and continue to simmer while stirring frequently. Add some of the reserved pasta water to keep everything moist while the pasta cooks.
- Add the sausage and shrimp about 1 minute before the pasta reaches al dente then turn off the heat. Add the green onions and taste test. Add more of the Cajun seasoning to taste. Note: It's best to wait to add more of the seasoning due to the spicy nature of the Andouille.
- If the pasta dries out before serving just add a bit of reserved pasta water to thin it out. Enjoy!
- Commercial Cajun seasoning will have varying sodium levels. Adjust accordingly to your taste preferences.
- Baking soda is used to brine the shrimp which makes them plumper and juicier. You only need to use a ¼ to ½ teaspoon per pound of shrimp. Feel free to skip the step if you like.
- Any sausage (Italian, chorizo, etc) can be substituted for Andouille.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days and can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop.