My Cajun shrimp scampi injects tantalizing flavors and textures into the beloved classic dish, y'all. Cajun trinity veggies and garlic, browned down in the pan. Then, lemon juice, parsley, butter, and broth are added to the skillet to create a light and luscious sauce that complements piping hot pasta perfectly. South Louisiana-seasoned shrimp are added at the finish, filling every forkful with the perfect crustacean-to-noodle-and-sauce ratio that makes each bite delectably delicious. Yep and yay...
It's Always the Right Time, Y'all...
Cajun shrimp scampi builds upon the traditional Italian-American dish with the addition of Cajun trinity veggies and south Louisiana seasonings. These extra touches create a more profound depth of flavor than the norm and also add a more interesting, varied texture.
My original take on this recipe overflows with shrimp, boasting at least one, but often two in each bite. There's also lots of butter for creaminess, plenty of parsley for color, and just a touch of chicken broth to let the naturally dominant shrimp flavor shine right through the sauce.
Best of all, you really can prep and cook this dish in about an hour. So, you have the perfect recipe for feeding your brood on the weekends. And, you can also whip this up pretty quickly to serve just the right weeknight dinner special whenever the mood strikes you. Indeed.
- I recommend using 16 to 20-count per pound fresh peeled and deveined shrimp. This is an ideal size for both visual beauty and optimal taste and texture in this dish.
- Cajun trinity veggies and garlic add the south Louisiana-style foundation to this dish. They brown down while you boil the water for the GF pasta, so there's no extra time added to the recipe.
- The shrimp get a simple but powerful seasoning that includes dried paprika and lemon zest. It also calls for a bit of salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper, as well.
- I created this shrimp scampi without wine because I cook mostly Cajun and Creole dishes from my native south Louisiana, which generally do not include alcohol in their preparation. Butter is used instead to round out the body of the dish, which also includes chicken broth, lemon juice, and fresh chopped parsley.
- Parmesan cheese is suggested for serving. But, you can go without it and this Cajun shrimp scampi will still be extremely tasty.
How to Make Cajun Shrimp Scampi
To begin, season the shrimp. Set aside.
Now, pour the raw Cajun trinity veggies into the skillet, along with the butter or oil.
Brown the veggies, adding the garlic at the end of the browning time.
Turn down the heat for a couple of minutes. Then, melt the butter in the pan.
Finally, add the remaining ingredients, and cook until the shrimp are opaque and cooked all the way through.
And that's it, y'all!!
The first thing you notice about this Cajun shrimp scampi is that there's an impressive, company-worthy amount of shrimp in the dish. Then, once you taste it, you can't believe how beautifully, harmoniously balanced the lemon, butter, and seasonings are in relation to the shrimp and pasta.
As you take bite after bite, you relish in the fact that it's all cooked perfectly, with the shrimp super plump and juicy, and the sauce light and airy lemony bliss.
Share this Cajun shrimp scampi with those whose company is just as simple as it stimulating. And see y'all on the yum side....
Store the leftovers covered in the fridge for up to three days. This recipe does not freeze well, as the pasta falls apart and the shrimp takes on an unpleasant rubbery texture.
Always make sure that the shrimp are cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit before serving.
Because the butter will brown if you don't, which totally changes the taste of the dish. This browning makes the sauce heavy and overly rich, which greatly disrupts the delicate flavors and textures of this Cajun shrimp scampi.
Cajun Shrimp Scampi Pairings
Serve these dishes before, during, or after the Cajun shrimp scampi for a true south Louisiana-inspired meal.
Other Shrimp Recipes
If you like this Cajun shrimp scampi recipe, you may also like some of my other shrimp dishes.
NOTE: This post was originally published on August 24, 2016, and updated, republished, and renamed on July 11, 2023.
Cajun Shrimp Scampi
For the Seasoned Shrimp
- 2 pounds raw 16 to 20-count per pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon dried paprika
- salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
For the Cajun Shrimp Scampi
- 1 pound long spaghetti noodles I use the Great Value or Barilla gluten free spaghetti
- 3 tablespoons butter or oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, cleaned, trimmed and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 stick butter, salted
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 cup chicken broth Swanson is gluten free
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- additional salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
- Season the shrimp with the lemon zest, paprika, and salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Boil the gluten free spaghetti according to the package directions. When done drain and set aside.
- While the pasta is boiling, add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery to a large cast iron skillet, along with the butter or oil.
- Cook the veggies over medium heat until browned.
- When browned, add the garlic to the skillet, and cook for one additional minute.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, and stir the veggies and garlic occassionally while the heat fully reduces, for at least 1 ½ minutes but up to 2 minutes. (This is an extremely important step, please see notes below or up in the Faqs section of the post.)
- Add the stick of butter to the skillet, and let melt completely.
- Pour the chicken broth, lemon juice, and chopped parsley into the pan, and stir until well combined.
- Stir the seasoned shrimp into the skillet.
- Cover the skillet partially, and cook for an additional 7 to 10 minutes, stirring often, or until the shrimp are opaque and a digital thermometer inserted into them reads at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the skillet from the heat, and add the cooked spaghetti to the pan in batches, stirring the pasta completely into the sauce before adding more.
- Serve immediately.
The information shown is an estimate provided by a third-party, online computer-generated nutrition calculator, not a registered dietitian or certified nutritionist. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods and individual portion sizes, along with other factors.See our full nutrition disclaimer here.