Autumn in Acadiana is when fresh squash, pumpkin, and gourds of all kind begin showing up at the local farmers markets. It always puts me in the mood for a delicious recipe featuring those flavors, and with this Butternut And Shrimp Pasta dish, I can’t think of a better way to usher in the fall season.
This mouthwatering recipe is at the intersection of taste and texture. The sweetness of creamy butternut squash is counterpunched with Cajun spice in this smooth, satisfying pasta dish. Just add jumbo Gulf shrimp, crunchy farm-to-table vegetables, and a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and we just created a new Cajun classic–Butternut And Shrimp Pasta. Oh, and did I mention how easy it is?
While I often cook with butternut squash, I am making this recipe even easier with a packaged butternut squash soup that I recently discovered. The Imagine brand of organic cream-based soups is on most supermarket shelves these days. These boxed soups are as tasty as they are convenient, and I use them often in recipes. This particular version—butternut squash—has a fall spice profile that infuses the intensity of the squash with a hint of cinnamon in one creamy, pourable sauce. I smooth it all out with heavy cream and a bit of pasta water; it works deliciously as a base for my Butternut And Shrimp Pasta.
With this recipe, I use the flat, broad pappardelle noodle with its soft, eggy interior that seems to soak up the flavors of this dish like a sponge. The 1-inch wide noodles cloaked in the velvety sauce spin a silky web of taste and texture inside the bowl. Each bite is an explosion of flavor. Bring a pot of this Butternut And Shrimp Pasta to your table and watch your family sing your praises as they lap up every bit of sauce in their bowl. But, shhhh; don’t tell them how easy it was.
- 1 bunch (approximately 10 spears) asparagus, chopped into large pieces
- 1 pound pappardelle pasta
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped carrot
- 1 cup chopped sweet pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 4 cups butternut squash soup, such as Imagine® Organic Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- 1 cup diced green onion tops
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound jumbo (16/20 count) shrimp, shells removed, tails left on
- 4 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
- In a large pot filled halfway with water over high heat, add salt and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until just blanched but still crunchy, about 1 minute. Remove the asparagus and add to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and preserve the color. Add the pasta noodles and cook until al dente. Drain the noodles reserving 1 cup of the pasta water for later use.
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil along with the onion, celery, carrot, and pepper. Saute until the onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add the butternut squash soup and cream. When it begins to bubble, lower the heat to simmer and let it cook as the mixture reduces and thickens.
- Add the Cajun seasoning along with the green onion and parsley. Taste the mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add enough pasta to the sauce to accommodate the number of guests you are serving (Note: Save any leftover pasta to add back to the sauce later.) Turn off the heat and let the pasta soak in the hot sauce.
- For serving, heat the pot containing the pasta and sauce and add the shrimp and the asparagus. Let cook until the shrimp turn pink and cook through, about 5 minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water to thin it out to sauce consistency (thick enough to coat the back of a spoon). Serve in bowls and garnish with a sprig of parsley.
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