I’m honestly not sure what to call this pasta. When the fork hit my mouth, I thought of gumbo and jambalaya and all those wonderful Creole flavors, although I’m not sure that was the original intent.
I also am not the designer of this dish. This dish came together after my boyfriend realized that some of the peppers from our garden needed to be eaten like, now, and we had a few other leftover veggies that were running low on shelf life. So he sautéed them in a pan with oil, boiled some water, and made me dinner. And it was delicious. And took about twenty minutes.
Creole-esque Pasta with Shrimp
Note: We tend to use frozen, raw shrimp. When we can find them already peeled and deveined, we do that as a time-saver. This week, we could only find deveined, but peeling them is a cinch. Just put them in a colander under running cold water (or, if you’re in Texas and in a drought, in a colander in a sinkful of cold water) and in about ten minutes, they’re soft enough to peel.
You will need:
1/2 lb. pasta
10-12 large shrimp
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Cayenne pepper, to taste (substitute with red pepper flakes, if desired)
Splash of heavy cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
Freshly grated parmesan cheese, to taste
Boil a pot of water and cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside.
Heat the oil and butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, but don’t let the butter burn. Add the shrimp and cook about 1 minute. Turn all shrimp and cook about 30 seconds. Remove from heat.*
Add onion, pepper, garlic, and spices, and cook until softened and slightly caramelized. Add pasta and shrimp to skillet and toss to coat pasta in oil and vegetables. Add cream and toss to evenly distribute. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve in bowls and top with parmesan cheese.
*The key to not overcooking shrimp is to undercook them. When you remove them from the heat to a bowl, they will continue to cook each other for a few more minutes. For pasta, they also continue cooking when you add them to the hot noodles. You want them to be just barely opaque when you cook them initially.