Mardi Gras, this year, is on Tuesday, February 13th. It is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. In America, Mardi Gras is celebrated particularly in the South. In New Orleans, Louisiana, there is a large, wild celebration every year. Mardi Gras is French and translated means "Fat Tuesday". In honor of the celebrations that will be happening in New Orleans and throughout the South, I give you Cajun shrimp linguine. This spiced up linguine comes from the May 2016 edition of Cooking Light magazine, and it is delicious!
If you're not a fan of spicy dishes, simply add less of the ground red pepper but do add at least a little for some pizzazz! The heat from the red pepper is tempered by the addition of half & half and gives this delicious pasta dish a well balanced warmth. If you aren't celebrating Mardi Gras this year, this pasta would also be a great pasta dish for Valentine's Day which is a few days after Mardi Gras.
When I made this dish, I used Cajun seasoning with salt in it and organic diced tomatoes that had sodium in it. When this dish was finished rather than adding the 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt in the recipe, I just added the Kosher salt to my taste.
When using frozen shrimp, I like to thaw them in a colander overnight. After thawing, I rinse them well. Then I peel, remove the tails, and devein the shrimp. I give them another good rinse and put them to dry with paper towels. I find that this helps with the fishy taste when using frozen shrimp.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.
Preparation time is 25 minutes. Cook time is 20 minutes. Total time is 45 minutes.
6 ounces whole-grain linguine or fettuccine
1 1/2 teaspoons salt-free Cajun seasoning (such as Tony Chachere's)
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
1/4 teaspoon to 3/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 bay leaves
1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup half-and-half
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/3 cup pasta cooking liquid. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Combine the Cajun seasoning and shrimp in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add the shrimp mixture to pan; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the shrimp are done. Remove the shrimp mixture from pan. Wipe pan clean with paper towels.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan; swirl. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and 1 tablespoon thyme; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add red pepper and garlic; cook 3 minutes. Add the reserved 1/3 cup cooking liquid, salt, bay leaves, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until thickened. Discard the bay leaves. Remove the pan from heat; stir in half-and-half. Cook 1 minute over medium heat or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme. Serves 4.
(edited by Anna Weicht)