Combining fresh Louisiana seafood with pasta is a popular dish throughout Acadiana. There are endless variations, but most favor a white sauce rather than red, and frequently have smoked meat or sausage layering flavor in the dish. There is even a version of jambalaya called “pastalaya,” that replaces rice with pasta.
On my Acadiana Table, it is fresh Gulf shrimp and artichokes that are at the heart of my recipe. Dried whole wheat fettuccine is my pasta of choice, but that’s only the start to this multi-layered dish. Olives, baby portobellos and cherry tomatoes bring added complexity to the flavor profile. Many times, I will use Andouille or smoked ham, but this time, spicy Cajun tasso ups the smokiness factor.
The key to this dish is the contrast of the crunch of lightly sautéed vegetables with the smooth cream-induced sauce coating it all. Fresh herbs and grated cheese added at the last moment of cooking is a flavor burst that brightens the dish.
- ½ cup table salt
- 1 pound package dried fettuccine noodles
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onions
- ½ cup diced celery
- ½ cup diced carrots
- 1 cup sliced baby portobello mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 cup chopped tasso or smoked ham
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, packed in water
- ½ cup red cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons sliced olives
- 2 pounds medium-sized fresh Gulf shrimp, peeled
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Dash of hot sauce
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- In a large pot over high heat filled half way with water, bring to a boil. Add the salt and the pasta. Cook just until the pasta reaches al dente. Immediately drain the pasta into a colander and rinse with cold water. Reserve for later use.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook until the onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, rosemary, and tasso. Continue cooking for 5 minutes and add the white wine. Cook until the wine reduces by half, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to a simmer and add the artichokes, tomatoes, and olives. Continue cooking until the cream reduces and begins to thicken, about 10 minutes.
- Add the shrimp and cook for 5 minutes. Add the par-cooked pasta to the pan and stir to incorporate it into the hot cream mixture. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and a dash of hot sauce. Just before serving, add the chopped basil and cheese and stir.
- For serving, spoon the pasta into shallow bowls making sure to evenly distribute the shrimp. Serve with crusty French bread.
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