We try to have seafood at least 3 times per week and I always seem to go back to pasta with shrimp for one of those meals. This recipe was inspired by the Rattlesnake Pasta that we order when we dine out at J. Alexanders. If you ever get the chance to visit one of their restaurants try their dish made with chicken instead of shrimp and a creamier, more caloric but delicious, sauce and a side of their Alexander salad. Of course, any of their dishes are superb and the staff is friendly and efficient.
My recipe is a healthier version of Rattlesnake Pasta but watch out because the spicy bite of the sauce definitely lives up to its name. You can vary the amount of spiciness to your liking by lessening the amount of cajun spice, red pepper flakes and jalapeno you add to the dish. Enjoy!
- 1/3 pound spaghetti
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3/4 pound shelled and deveined medium shrimp, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4-1/2 jalapeno, minced
- 1/2-1 teaspoon minced rosemary
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, depending on your preferred level of hotness
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup chicken stock or white wine
- 1/4-1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pot with lid to keep warm.
While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet. Coat shrimp with Cajun seasoning and add to skillet. Brown shrimp on both sides, about 1 minute per side, then add tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, rosemary and crushed red pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes, crushing tomatoes slightly to release juices. Add spaghetti and broth or wine to skillet then season with salt and pepper. Toss together, add Parmesan cheese and mix well. Cook over medium heat, tossing occasionally for 2-4 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened. Serve immediately on plates garnished with rosemary sprig
Wine Pairing: When pairing wines with spicy dishes lean towards those with low alcohol and a bit of fruity sweetness such as Sauvignon Blancs, Rieslings, Chenin Blancs and Roses. If you pair this meal with a higher alcohol wine, the spice in the dish will appear even hotter (whew!), if paired with an oaky Chardonnay, the wine will seem to be even oakier and if your wine is more of a tannic red it will seem bitter to the taste. So stick with those above that will tame some of the spiciness and help you enjoy both the meal and the wine.