It's Monday, and it is my belief that every Monday should start with a luscious, creamy pasta. This is not my waistline's belief, but nevertheless. This particular pasta was inspired by a dish I ate at Applebee's, of all places, when out for lunch with my best friend. We mostly just had the actual lunch part as an excuse to drink strawberry margaritas and have chocolate lava cake for dessert, but it just so happened that the lunch we split turned out to be pretty darn delicious -- so delicious that I had to recreate it at home. I actually think my version is better than theirs...probably because mine uses a cream sauce, and theirs doesn't. Hey, I have to be me.
This pasta is just incredible -- spicy, creamy, cheesy, and slightly sweet from the shrimp and corn. I think you'll love it.
Southwestern Shrimp Pasta
inspired by Applebee's
1 pound fettuccine or linguine
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, tails removed, and deveined
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 red onion, finely diced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups half and half
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons cilantro, divided
1 cup shredded pepper-jack cheese, divided
1. Cook fettuccine according to package directions in boiling salted water; drain.
2. Meanwhile, pat shrimp dry and season with chili powder, cumin, and cayenne. Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet. Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are opaque (2 to 3 minutes). Remove shrimp to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
3. Add remaining tablespoon of butter to the same skillet and saute onion and green bell pepper until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and roasted red pepper; cook and stir for 30 seconds. Add corn, black beans, and diced tomatoes.
4. Stir in the half and half and heat to bubbling, then lower heat and simmer until it's slightly reduced. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the chopped cilantro.
5. Add the sauce to the reserved pasta and stir gently to combine. Portion into bowls and top each bowl with about 1/4 cup shredded cheese, some of the shrimp, and another sprinkling of cilantro. Serve immediately.