Gulf Shrimp Pasta Primavera
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Get creative: Add blanched asparagus tips or maybe even fresh mint from your garden; this dish is a celebration of spring.
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Serves: 4
  • Water
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • I (16-ounce) package thick pasta, such as bucatini or spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 dozen jumbo (16/20 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cups julienned red bell pepper, seeds removed
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced or julienned thin
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, stems removed
  • 4 cups loosely packed fresh basil, stems removed
  • 2 cups multi-colored cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium zucchini squash, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 medium yellow squash, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 cup diced green onion tops
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • Half a lemon
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  1. In a large pot over high heat, fill halfway with water and add the salt. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 15 minutes. Drain the water, reserving 1 cup for later use. Rinse the excess starch off the pasta and let drain. Toss with olive oil; return the pasta to the dried pot; keep warm.
  1. Lightly sprinkle the shrimp on both sides with Cajun seasoning.
  2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Once sizzling hot, add the garlic and the shrimp. Sauté the shrimp just until the flesh turns slightly opaque and the exterior turns pink, about 3 minutes. Once done, remove to a platter and keep warm.
  1. In a stainless steel mixing bowl, add the garlic, mustard, lemon juice, sugar, and vinegar. While slowly drizzling the olive oil, whisk together to make an emulsion. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve for later use.
  1. Move the pot with the pasta noodles to the stovetop over low heat. Add all the vegetables and herbs to the pot. Using tongs, begin rotating the pasta with the mixture and incorporating all the ingredients. Add the shrimp and the vinaigrette. Stir to thoroughly coat the pasta with the vinaigrette. As the mixture begins to warm through, add the red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, and black pepper. (Note: you are not cooking the ingredients but simply warming it through to serving temperature and enough to slightly wilt the vegetables.)
  2. Remove the pot from the stovetop and squeeze in half a lemon, being careful to catch any seeds. Add the cheese, and stir to incorporate.
  3. Keep warm for serving and at the last minute drizzle lightly with more olive oil. Serve in large bowls and garnish with more fresh basil leaves.
I recommend using a thick pasta, ideally a #12 bucatini pasta or equally thick spaghetti noodle. Don’t overcook your shrimp in the first cooking; remember they will warm through again in the final dish. I keep a dried Italian seasoning blend on hand for dishes like this; it’s a combination of dried oregano, rosemary, and thyme. This dish is all about springtime color; find a medley of colorful (red, yellow, orange, and green) cherry tomatoes to brighten up this dish.
Recipe by Acadiana Table at