LOOKING FOR A SPECIAL HOLIDAY DISH TO WOW YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS?
Have I got the Holiday dish for you! It’s an all-in-one Cajun Shrimp, Kielbasa and Zucchini Pappardelle dish! When I think about “The Best Things in Life are in Threes”, this dish fits the mold! The shrimp and kielbasa are the protein, the Pappardelle pasta is the starch, and the Zucchini is the vegetable! Spice it up with some Cajun seasoning and a few other ingredients, and you have the most velvety, rich and creamy pasta dish that will wow your guests during the Holidays (and any time throughout the year for that matter)!
WHAT MAKES SHRIMP AND KIELBASA GO TOGETHER?
If you’ve ever had Jambalaya, Payada, or Gumbo, (which are spicy seafood and sausage dishes, typically served with a tomato base over rice), you know how well seafood and sausage go together. It’s a harmony of flavor, one that has a little kick, and one that is sweet and cool at the same time! Kind of like Simon and Garfunkel singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” or Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga singing “Shallow”.
WHAT IF I DON”T LIKE A SPICY DISH?
The wonderful thing about this dish is that it has just the right amount of spice, and you almost don’t know it’s there! I have many guests that either can’t eat spicy food or just don’t care for it. But I promise this dish will give you a warmth and flavor without a great deal of heat that can come with Cajun Seasoning. Don’t be afraid! And as with any recipe of mine, you can control the amount of spice, salt, pepper, and sweetness that is used, and just lessen it whenever you want!
DO I HAVE TO USE PAPPARDELLE PASTA?
No, you don’t have to use Pappardelle pasta, although I think it makes this recipe so good! But you can substitute Fettuccini no problem! In fact, the recipe originally called for Fettuccini, but I found Pappardelle to be so much lighter and fancier in presentation and I use it all the time with this recipe.
IS THERE A SPECIAL KIND OF KIELBASA THAT I SHOULD USE?
You can absolutely use any brand and kind of kielbasa, but I happen to find Zatarain’s Cajun Style Smoked Sausage and WOW! It is PERFECT for this dish….but if you do use it, it does have a kick of heat to it, so just keep that in mind if you are sensitive to spiciness.
WHAT”S THE BEST WAY TO PREPARE THE SHRIMP, KIELBASA AND ZUCCHINI?
I find because you need a large pot of boiling water for the pasta and a large sauce pan for making the sauce on the stovetop, I like roasting the shrimp, kielbasa and zucchini in the oven on cookie sheets or in disposable aluminum pans. I cut up the kielbasa and zucchini in half dollar size pieces, and roasting them only takes about 15 minutes, and the shrimp only about 5 or 6 minutes! I cover them and set them aside to stay warm while I cook the pasta and make the sauce.
I will say this dish takes just a little coordination to prepare and cook, but you can always cook the pasta a little ahead, drain and sprinkle with olive oil, tossing gently so the pasta doesn’t stick together, and set aside covered to stay warm. I always get my serving utensils, bowls, platters and condiments set up and ready to go because once your sauce is done, you’ll want to toss everything together and serve while it’s hot! Garnish with some fresh parsley and locatelli cheese, and you have a one-bowl dish to serve your guests and they will be amazed at your cooking talent!
Until next time…
Let’s get cookin’
Cajun Shrimp, Kielbasa and Zucchini Pappardelle
- 4 - 8 Quart Pot with Lid
- 3, 9" x 13" aluminum pans or cookie sheets
- Large Stove Top Sauté Pan
- Large Serving Bowl
- 1 pound Pappardelle Pasta
- 1 pound zucchini, sliced in ½" slices
- 1 pound kielbasa, sliced in 1/2 - 1 inch slices I used Zatarain's Cajun Style Smoked Sausage
- ¾ pound shrimp, raw, peeled, 26 - 30 count
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ tbsps olive oil
- 4 tbsps butter
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 ¼ cups Pecorino Romano cheese You can substitute parmesan
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 4 tsp Cajun spice (split in 1 tsp amounts) If you are sensitive to Cajun spice, reduce the amount to 2 teaspoons.
- 1 tbsp white wine or sherry optional
- 2 tbsps parsley, fresh and roughly chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400° on convection roast or bake.
- Prepare to cook your pasta according to the instructions on the package.
- Spread your kielbasa and zucchini in an aluminum pan or cookie sheet and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the Cajun seasoning.
- Spread your shrimp in an aluminum pan or cookie sheet and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the Cajun seasoning.
- Put the kielbasa, zucchini, and shrimp in the over and roast or bake the shrimp for 6-8 minutes and the kielbasa and zucchini for 15 minutes. Remove when done and cover to keep warm.
- In the meantime, bring pasta water to boil. Put olive oil and chopped garlic in the large sauce pan on low-medium heat until the oil has heated up and the garlic has begun to soften.
- Add butter and stir until melted.
- Add heavy cream, 1 cup of the Pecorino Romano cheese, turning heat on medium and stir until cheese melts into sauce and begins to thicken. Add chicken broth and 1 teaspoon of the Cajun seasoning into the sauce and continue to stir. Turn heat down to low and be careful not to let the sauce burn.
- Cook pasta according to instructions.
- Drain pasta and pour into the large saucepan, blending with the sauce.
- Place sauce and pasta in a large serving bow, and add kielbasa, shrimp and zucchini, and any juice that remains in the aluminum pan or cookie sheet.
- Gently toss until all ingredients are blended, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and the freshly chopped parsley.
- When serving, keep a large spoon handy to scoop some sauce from the bottom of the bowl as sometimes their is additional sauce that gathers at the bottom of the pasta.