On the table in 20 minutes, this Quick Cajun Shrimp Pasta is incredibly fast and deliciously spicy. Precooked shrimp make this meal a breeze to whip up, and broccoli adds a healthy crunch.
I was digging through my freezer the other day and found the end of a bag of precooked shrimp. While precooked shrimp probably aren’t the most economical item in our grocery stash, they make sense for our situation. Laurier doesn’t really eat shrimp, and our two year old has only started to eat it in the last little while, so for the longest time, it’s just been me. Frozen precooked shrimp lets me pull out a handful and throw it together into a quick meal when I’m craving some or when Laurier’s not around for supper, without going through the longer process of cooking and cleaning shrimp.
This is my go-to shrimp meal, which I can have on the table in 20 minutes. Yup. I love it. If you like a little bit of spice, give it a try! Just know that cajun seasonings can vary dramatically in how hot they are, so start with a little and then add more (unless you love all things spicy, then just go for it!).
I hadn’t had this meal in a while, but I was pretty pleased that after it was ready my toddler wandered in and wanted a bite. I warned her that it was spicy (this cajun seasoning was mild to medium, I would say) but she loved it. So now I have someone to share my spicy, shrimpy quick fix with. 🙂
Don’t miss the step-by-step photo instructions below the recipe.
Spicy Cajun Shrimp Pasta – Step-by-Step Instructions
Spicy Cajun Shrimp Pasta – Ingredients
Start by getting your pasta on to cook in salted boiling water. I used half a box (about 1/2 pound) for two servings. At the same time, preheat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Put frozen precooked shrimp in a bowl and cover with cool but slightly warm water to thaw.
Peel and roughly chop about six cloves of garlic, and chop 1/2 a bunch of broccoli into small bite-size pieces. The stem is perfectly good to eat too! Just peel it and slice it up.
As soon as your wok or frying pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of cajun seasoning. Fry for a few seconds but don’t let it burn.
Add broccoli and start to stir fry it. You’ll have to stir it around quite a bit to keep it from burning. Adjust heat slightly if it seems too high. You want to cook it fast but not burn it. I cooked mine for around 4 minutes, but that could vary based on the heat of your burner, the size of your broccoli florets and the pan you’re using (my wok is cast iron and conducts heat amazingly well). The broccoli will turn a lovely, bright green.
While the broccoli is cooking, the pasta should be ready (mine took around 9 minutes to al dente). Before you drain it, use a mug or measuring cup to take out some nice, starchy pasta water. You’ll only need about 1/4 cup for the recipe, so don’t worry about trying to get a mug full. Then drain the pasta.
Add the chopped garlic and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and stir it around to cook for about a minute.
Then add thawed shrimp (drain the water out first), 1 more tablespoon of olive oil, 1 more tablespoon of cajun seasoning (maybe try a taste of broccoli first, to make sure it’s not too spicy, because cajun seasoning can vary in heat) and 1/4 cup pasta water. Toss it all together to make sure it’s well-mixed and shrimp are heated through until piping hot.
Taste a noodle and see if it needs salt (if it doesn’t taste bright or the flavour seems dull, it needs salt. Unless you’re on a special low-salt diet, don’t skimp on salt in this, or any other recipe. It brings the flavour). I added 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Do you buy precooked shrimp? What other “convenience” foods do you think are worth the extra money? Let me know in the comment section below!
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