Prep time 60 minutes
Active prep time 30 minutes
Special equipment needed – None
Special skills needed – None
This dish is a little bit of work. It takes a lot of chopping and has quite a few ingredients, but it is well worth the effort. I make it for my family of four and it produces plenty of leftovers. I like it the second day just as much as the first. Like many Cajun recipes, it begins with the holy trinity of onions, celery, and bell peppers. Traditionally, that would be a green bell pepper, but I can never resist adding in a red one for color. Beyond that, you’ll find a great sausage, a bit of spice and a healthy dose of butter. This dish is relatively true to its roots. It is hearty and delicious, and full of flavor. I make it all year long, about once a month. You can make it in a smaller batch, but I can’t think of a good reason to do that. I use my biggest pot and I don’t worry too much about exact measurements.
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
1 ½ Cup Bell peppers – chopped
1 Cup Yellow onion – chopped
1 Cup Celery – chopped
2 lbs Shrimp – peeled
2 Tablespoons Creole spice blend (I use Emeril’s Essence)
6 Cloves garlic – minced
1 lb sausage – I like andouille or smoked, which means I always use both.
1 Can 28 oz crushed tomatoes in rich puree
1 Can 6 oz tomato paste
3 Sprigs Thyme
½ Cup White wine
1 Jalapeno – finely chopped
½ Cup Chicken stock
4 Tablespoons Unsalted butter
½ Cup Cream
1 lb Spaghetti pasta
1 Tablespoon Parsley – Chopped
In a large heavy bottomed pot like a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the bell peppers, onion, and celery. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
While this is cooking add half of the creole spice to the shrimp and toss to coat. Put them in the refrigerator while everything cooks.
Add the sausage, garlic, and the other half of the creole seasoning to the pot. Cook 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Try to get the sausages down to the bottom so they can brown a bit.
Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, white wine, jalapeno, and chicken stock. Reduce heat to a brisk simmer and cook for 20 more minutes.
While that is cooking, cook your pasta according to the instructions on the package. After 20 minutes, taste the sauce. The peppers, onions, and celery should be nice and soft. The sauce should have a little bit of heat from the jalapeno and should be plenty well salted with the creole spice, chicken stock, and sausage which are all salty. You can adjust it to your taste by adding cayenne if you want more heat, salt or pepper as needed, or sugar if you think it is too acidic. I don’t usually do anything at this stage other than let it cook a little longer if the vegetables are not cooked completely.
Once the sauce is 100% to your liking and the pasta is done cooking, add the shrimp and butter to the sauce. Cook 2 minutes. Add the cream to the sauce and stir to incorporate. Keep the heat pretty low at this stage.
When the shrimp are almost done, but not quite, drain the pasta and add it to the pot. You can reserve a little bit of the pasta water to thin your sauce if it is too thick. Remember that the shrimp will keep cooking and you don’t want them to be overdone, so turn off the heat sooner than you think you need to. Give the pasta a minute in the sauce then put it into bowls and top it with a little chopped parsley for garnish.