Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Pasta Bake is a mouthwatering fusion of bold Cajun flavors, succulent shrimp, savory sausage, and creamy pasta, all baked to perfection. This hearty dish combines the spiciness of Cajun seasoning with the comforting creaminess of pasta, making it a crowd-pleasing favorite for family dinners and special occasions. Get ready for a flavor explosion with this easy-to-follow recipe.
For the Cajun Seasoning:
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Pasta Bake:
8 ounces penne or your preferred pasta
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound smoked sausage, sliced into rounds
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper (red or green), chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Salt and black pepper to taste
1. Prepare the Cajun Seasoning: In a small bowl, combine the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, dried thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt to create your Cajun seasoning. Set aside.
2. Cook the Pasta: Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until it’s al dente. Drain and set aside.
3. Cook the Shrimp and Sausage: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced sausage and cook until it’s lightly browned. Remove the sausage from the pan and set it aside. In the same skillet, add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and minced garlic. Sauté until the vegetables are tender.
4. Season and Cook the Shrimp: Season the shrimp with 2 teaspoons of the Cajun seasoning mixture. Add the seasoned shrimp to the skillet and cook until they turn pink and opaque, usually 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and set them aside.
5. Make the Sauce: In the same skillet, pour in the chicken broth and heavy cream. Add the remaining Cajun seasoning to the mixture. Bring it to a simmer and let it cook for about 5 minutes, allowing the sauce to thicken.
6. Assemble the Pasta Bake: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, cooked sausage, cooked shrimp, and the sauce. Mix until everything is evenly coated. Transfer this mixture to a greased baking dish.
7. Bake: Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese over the top of the pasta mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
8. Garnish and Serve: Remove the Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Pasta Bake from the oven and garnish with chopped fresh parsley. Serve hot and enjoy this delightful Cajun-inspired dish.
This Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Pasta Bake is sure to satisfy your cravings for bold flavors and comforting textures. It’s a perfect blend of spice, creaminess, and savory goodness.
Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Pasta Bake not only offers a delightful taste but also several potential benefits:
Protein: This dish contains a good amount of protein from the shrimp and sausage. Protein is crucial for muscle growth, tissue repair, and overall body function.
Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: Ingredients like bell peppers and garlic provide essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, which supports the immune system, and various antioxidants for overall health.
Carbohydrates: The pasta in this dish provides carbohydrates, offering a valuable energy source for your daily activities.
Healthy Fats: Olive oil and dairy products like cheese contribute healthy fats to the meal, which are essential for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins and providing sustained energy.
Cajun Seasoning: The spices in the Cajun seasoning, such as paprika, garlic, and thyme, may offer health benefits like anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Flavorful Ingredients: The dish includes a variety of flavorful ingredients that can make it more enjoyable to eat, potentially leading to a more balanced and nutritious diet.
Diversity: Combining different food groups, such as vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates, in one dish allows you to create a well-balanced and satisfying meal.
Homemade: Preparing this meal at home allows you to control the quality of ingredients, potentially reducing unhealthy additives, preservatives, and excessive sodium that may be found in some restaurant versions of similar dishes.
While Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Pasta Bake can be a flavorful and nutritious addition to your diet, it’s important to enjoy it in moderation as part of a balanced meal plan that includes a variety of foods to meet your nutritional needs.