…from the Perspectives’ Kitchen
How you doin’? When going to the grocery store last week I was once again shocked at the inflated prices that seem to increase daily. The large shrimp I usually cook with were up $3 a pound. To help people who are feeling the pinch I put together this Budget Saver shrimp recipe that uses smaller, less-expensive shrimp.
We have a lot of love and respect for Cajun cuisine. In part because it combines the ingredients of the Southern Louisiana bayous and coastal regions with a hybrid of West African, French, Spanish, Creole, and Indigenous cooking techniques. But also because it’s comforting, hearty, and full of flavor and spice. This creamy, Cajun-inspired pasta has filling, feel-good ingredients like mini-shrimp and andouille sausage relying heavily on Cajun seasoning.
Like many spice blends, the exact contents of Cajun seasoning will vary depending on the cook. It might include garlic, onion, black pepper, mustard, celery, and ground chiles, such as paprika or cayenne. Generally, it’s bold, warm, and zesty. While you could opt for a premade store-bought version, you can easily whip up a homemade Cajun seasoning from my recipe below and use up some of those seasonings in your spice cabinet. It’s probably time to refresh them anyway.
We use the seasoning to coat the sautéed shrimp and again in the tomato-cream sauce, along with yellow onion, red bell pepper, garlic, Parmesan cheese and a little brown sugar. It’s rich and tangy with the perfect balance of tomatoes and cream which clings to the shrimp, sausage, and penne pasta. Finish the pasta with chopped fresh parsley, a few dashes of Louisiana hot sauce and a glass of crisp white wine to tame that spicy tingle.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
5 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, divided (see my scratch recipe below)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1-pound small shrimp (51-60 count), peeled, deveined and precooked
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 ounces thinly sliced andouille sausage
10 ounces dried penne pasta
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves, to garnish
When your recipes call for Cajun seasoning blend and you don’t have any in your pantry, try this scratch recipe for the best results. It only takes about 2 minutes to make.
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne powder
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon granulated salt
Mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Store in an airtight container such as a clean spice jar. Make it your own by adding some additional spices and herbs to your own taste, i.e., cumin, coriander, thyme, white pepper, dried basil, celery seed, dried jalapeño powder, superhot ghost chili powder or smoked chili powder.
Quip of the Day: Don’t wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it.
Do you have a question or comment? Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. All recipes and cooking tips are posted on our website https://www.perspectives-la.com/covid-19-survival-guide.
To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind. Take a breath and count your blessings, and if you have a little extra to share with others, please consider donating to Feeding America.
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©Perspectives/The Consulting Group, LLC, 2022
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