This Creamy Jamaican Shrimp Pasta is a one-skillet dinner with spicy jerk flavors and a rich, silky sauce.
Creamy Jamaican Shrimp Pasta Skillet
Make a simple and comforting one-pot Creamy Jamaican Shrimp Pasta Skillet for a weeknight dinner with fire-y jerk seasoning and thick, cheesy sauce.
Regardless of the weather or time of year, I’m always happy to sit down to a comforting dinner of pasta in a creamy sauce. And this recipe for creamy Jamaican shrimp pasta is especially close to home, thanks to the traditional jerk seasoning. Plump, juicy shrimp add light and healthy protein and extra seafood flavor.
Despite its creamy, cheesy sauce, this pasta dish is just as appropriate or cold weather eating as it is in the middle of summer, thanks to the delicate shrimp and the bright jerk flavors.
How to Make Creamy Jamaican Shrimp Pasta
If you have a big skillet and a few ingredients, you’re well on your way to whipping up this simple one-pot pasta recipe.
Here’s what you need to know about the key ingredients in the Jamaican jerk pasta:
Rigatoni pasta. Feel free to use a different pasta shape if you have it on hand. Take note of the different cooking time for longer or larger pasta shapes.
Colossal shrimp. I love to use the biggest, meatiest shrimp I can find. They also cook more slowly, which means I’m less likely to overcook them.
Chicken stock. Choose low-sodium chicken stock so you can control the saltiness of the dish. And if you’re a pescatarian, you can substitute the chicken stock for seafood or vegetable stock.
Mild cheddar cheese. This adds a bit of sharpness to the cheese sauce. If you like a stronger cheddar flavor, you can use sharp cheddar. For an even more mild flavor, use shredded Swiss cheese.
Jerk seasoning. You can find store-bought jerk seasoning for a shortcut. But if you have a well-stocked spice cabinet, you probably already have the dried seasonings you need to make your own jerk spice. The flavors in jerk seasoning include onion, garlic, allspice, parsley, and brown sugar for sweetness.
One-Skillet Pasta Instructions
To make this creamy Jamaican pasta recipe, start by sauteing the shrimp in butter in a large skillet. Only cook the shrimp until they’re bright pink and just curled into a C-shape. Immediately remove them from the skillet, as they will continue to cook, even off the heat.
Keep all of that delicious seafood flavor in the skillet and saute the sweet bell peppers. Then build a quick roux by toasting flour and stirring it into the butter until you have a toasty paste. This will help thicken the pasta sauce.
When you have a golden-colored flour paste, you can start adding the cream, stirring the entire time, until it thickens up. Do the same with the chicken stock and both kinds of cheese. Whisk constantly to prevent burning and to ensure that the cheese melts smoothly without clumps.
Finally, stir in your cooked pasta and return the shrimp to the skillet. Give everything a good stir and serve it up!
Gluten-Free Jamaican Jerk Pasta
To make this recipe gluten-free, use your favorite gluten-free pasta. In addition, substitute the flour in the sauce with gluten-free all-purpose flour.
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1(16 oz.) packagerigatoni pasta (You can substitute w/ your own fave pasta!; See Notes for GF option.)
1lb.colossal shrimp, deveined
3garlic cloves, minced
2Tbspsunsalted butter, for cooking
2cupsorganic heavy cream
1/2cupchicken stock, low-sodium
1cupshredded thick-cut mild cheddar
3cupssweet peppers, chopped
1tspsea salt + black pepper
1/2tspred pepper flakes
In a bowl, mix together the shrimp and jerk seasoning until fully coated. Set aside.
In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 Tbsp of butter until melted. Add in the shrimp and cook on both sides (about 3-4 minutes), until pink and cook through. Remove from skillet and set shrimp aside on a plate or in a bowl.
In the same skillet (with juices from shrimp + all), melt the other Tbsp of butter and add garlic and sauté for 1 minute or so, until fragrant. Add in the sweet peppers and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the flour, stirring constantly until well combined and everything looks like paste.
Slowly add in the heavy cream, continuing to stir as it thickens. Once fully added, add in the chicken stock along with the parmesan and mild cheddar cheese. Continue to whisk until full combined and the sauce looks smooth and begins to thicken.
Let simmer (while stirring with a wooden spoon) for another 3-4 minutes.
When the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the sauce, stirring until sauce fully coats + sticks to pasta. Add in the shrimp and continue to stir everything together. Remove from heat and serve.
Tips & Tricks
STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.GLUTEN-FREE: To make this dish GF, simply use Gluten-Free pasta.