Shrimp and Pasta in Tomato-Chile Cream Sauce

This spicy little number will forever be associated with Valentine’s Day in our house. After Blake & I made this together a couple years ago for a special dine-in Valentine’s meal, it has now come to be an annual February dish.

The original recipe for Shrimp and Pasta in Tomato-Chile Cream Sauce comes from Emeril Lagasse and is full of his signature {rich + bold} flavor. The cream and shrimp provide sweet lusciousness. And then the jalapenos and Pepper Jack cheese follow up with a kick {it up a notch}.

It’s deliciously romantic.

I realize this pasta dish may not make it to your table this Valentine’s Day, given my timing in sharing it with you, but it’s a great dish to make during any winter month. And even though the past few days have been rather balmy here in the midwest, I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of this winter’s wrath.

Also…don’t let this recipe’s length scare you off. It’s not difficult to make. But prep is key. Have everything chopped and measured before you get started, and you’ll be just fine. This is a great dish to whip up with your honey by your side. Turn on some music, pour some wine (I really like a chilled crisp Cline Viognier with this), and make an evening of it.

Shrimp and Pasta in Tomato-Chile Cream Sauce

Yield: 6


  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 lb. linguine
  • 2 T. unsalted butter
  • 2 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 T. Essence (recipe follows)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 c. finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped jalapenos, seeds removed
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 c. diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. reserved pasta cooking water
  • 1 c. grated Pepper Jack cheese
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan
  • 2 T. chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 T. chopped fresh basil leaves

for Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning:

(can be purchased at the grocery store, labeled as “Bayou Blast”)

  • 2-1/2 T. paprika
  • 2 T. salt
  • 2 T. garlic powder
  • 1 T. black pepper
  • 1 T. onion powder
  • 1 T. cayenne pepper
  • 1 T. dried oregano
  • 1 T. dried thyme


Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Store in an empty spice bottle or similar container for future use. I always have a few empty spice bottles on hand, for just this sort of thing.
yield: 2/3 cup

Set a large 1-gallon stock pot of water to a boil. Add the kosher salt and then the linguine to the pot. Return to a boil and stir the noodles to separate. Cook the pasta until al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, start preparing the shrimp and sauce. Set a large deep saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Once the butter has melted, season the shrimp with 1 tablespoon of the Essence seasoning, plus 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Add the shrimp to the pan and sear until nicely browned on both sides. This should take just a couple minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.

Turn heat down to medium and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onions and jalapenos to the pan and saute until the onions are softened, translucent, and slightly caramelized. This should take about 4 or 5 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for 1 minute. Add the cream, remaining 1 tablespoon of Essence seasoning, remaining 1-1/4 teaspoons of the salt, and the pepper to the pan and bring to a boil. Cook the sauce until the cream is reduced by half. This should take about 2 minutes.

Return the shrimp to the pan. Add the linguine, tomatoes, and the reserved cooking water to the pan and cook, tossing to incorporate for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and add the Pepper Jack, Parmesan, parsley, and basil. Toss to blend. Serve immediately.

adapted slightly from Emeril Lagasse and Food

I’m linking up with:

Rachel at A Southern Fairytale for Mouthwatering Monday
Robyn at Add a Pinch for Mingle Monday


40 Responses to “Shrimp and Pasta in Tomato-Chile Cream Sauce”

  1. #
    Mom — February 14, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Just looking at the picture is making my mouth water!!!

    • farmgirl replied on February 14th, 2011 at 10:33 pm

      oooooo…you would LOVE this, Mom!! xoxo

  2. #
    Amanda — February 14, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Great recipe and pictures!! I LOVE shrimp and pasta… so I know i would love this!

    • farmgirl replied on February 14th, 2011 at 10:34 pm

      Thanks much, Amanda!

  3. #
    Michelle (What's Cooking with Kids) — February 14, 2011 at 11:15 am

    That looks delicious – nothing like slurping spaghetti :-) (Imagining the scene in Lady in the Tramp – YES, I am a mother!) xo

    • farmgirl replied on February 14th, 2011 at 10:35 pm

      Thanks for mentioning Lady & The Tramp! What a great romantic pasta visual!!

  4. #
    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies — February 14, 2011 at 11:16 am

    This looks absolutely delicious. There used to be a New Orleans themed restaurant in San Antonio that had a dish just like this that I *adored*. I haven’t thought about it in years. Thanks for the reminder, and the great recipe!

    • farmgirl replied on February 14th, 2011 at 10:36 pm

      You’re welcome, Amber – hope you get the chance to make this!

  5. #
    Tracy — February 14, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Love it! Anything spicy is perfect in my book!

    • farmgirl replied on February 14th, 2011 at 10:36 pm

      Thanks Tracy!

  6. #
    MEGHAN KELL CORNELL — February 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    You got me at “spicy little number!” I got to the grocery and will indeed treat my valentine’s to this treat!
    Thank you!!

    • farmgirl replied on February 14th, 2011 at 10:37 pm

      Yay! Let me know what you & your boys think, dearest Meghan!!

  7. #
    Shaina — February 14, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Yes, please! I want to throw my menu out the window and opt instead for this. In fact, I think I might. :)

    • farmgirl replied on February 14th, 2011 at 10:38 pm

      Ha! Knowing you, you had a spectacular menu lined up for your family! But do make this sometime!!

  8. #
    Robyn | Add a Pinch — February 14, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    I love Shrimp and Pasta and absolutely without a doubt need to try your recipe soon. I looks scrumptious! Hope you had a Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • farmgirl replied on February 14th, 2011 at 10:39 pm

      Thanks, Robyn! xoxo

  9. #
    Mama Kelly aka Jia — February 14, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Shrimp, pasta, cheese, and spice …. YUM! This looks like a winner!

    • farmgirl replied on February 14th, 2011 at 10:40 pm

      Yep! Just can’t go wrong with those ingredients!! :)

  10. #
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — February 14, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    That spicy creamy sauce looks so tempting, I want to dive into that plate of pasta!

    • farmgirl replied on February 14th, 2011 at 10:41 pm

      Great to hear from you, Sylvie! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  11. #
    Wenderly — February 15, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Oh my goodness does this look heavenly! I’m sitting here fantasizing about swirling a fork right in the center of that dish! YUMMMMMMM!

    • farmgirl replied on February 16th, 2011 at 8:44 pm

      Thank you, Wenderly! :)

  12. #
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — February 15, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    This is stunning! I wish I had gotten to eat this for Valentine’s Day… My hubby doesn’t like shrimp, but I might give it a try with chicken for him. :)

    • farmgirl replied on February 16th, 2011 at 8:45 pm

      I’ve thought of doing it with chicken, myself. I know it would be excellent. Thanks, Jen!

  13. #
    naomi — February 15, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    This looks delish. Great recipe. Shrimp and pasta together is one of my favs.

    • farmgirl replied on February 16th, 2011 at 8:45 pm

      Thank you, Naomi!

  14. #
    Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking — February 15, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    This dish looks awesome. We really like shrimp and that sauce looks great. So glad I found your blog and Thanks So Much for sharing this recipe!

    • farmgirl replied on February 16th, 2011 at 8:46 pm

      Thanks, Alicia – great to hear from you!

  15. #
    Harriet — February 15, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Mmmm that looks amazing! I’ll have to try and make it for my housemates! Its a shame one of them doesn’t like prawns, I’ll just leave them out of hers. I have a question though, what is kosher salt? Is it a special salt or can I use normal table salt?

    • farmgirl replied on February 18th, 2011 at 9:13 pm

      Thanks, Harriet – great to hear from you again! You could leave the shrimp out, or just use chicken. And kosher salt is just a salt with a coarser grain. I also think it has a softer taste than ordinary table salt, and actually prefer it over table salt. It also makes for a nicer crust when grilling and searing meats. You should be able to find it in the same area as ordinary table salt at the store.

  16. #
    Cookbook Queen — February 16, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Brenda, this looks amazing. Seriously, I want some now!!

    I suppose I will have to make some soon, since you twisted my arm. :)

    • farmgirl replied on February 16th, 2011 at 9:07 pm

      Thank you so much, Kristan!

  17. #
    Sandy @ RE — February 16, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Oh my, I wish my husband wasn’t allergic to shrimp. This sounds amazing!

    Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

    • farmgirl replied on February 16th, 2011 at 9:09 pm

      Sorry to hear about the shrimp, Sandy. But don’t let that stop you from trying this – just use chicken – I’m sure it will still be super delicious. Great to hear from you!

  18. #
    Morgan — February 16, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    I can’t wait until I have a chance to make this… hopefully next week! Until then I’ll be stopping by just to glance at the photos :) It looks so delicious!

    • farmgirl replied on February 16th, 2011 at 10:51 pm

      I know you’ll love it, Morgan!!

  19. #
    Kristen — February 17, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! Just pinned it to keep track of. Yum!

    • farmgirl replied on February 17th, 2011 at 10:49 pm

      Yay! Enjoy!

  20. #
    Grayce Thompson — December 29, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    I made the spicy tomato sauce today, sort of. I had some salmon and some sea scallops I wanted to fix, so I used them instead of the shrimp. Didn’t have jalapenas so I used poblemo peppers. I forgot to add the cheeses, basil and parsley, but what I got was wonderful (reduced the cream too)………. loved it. Nice slight kick, smooth and tasty.


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