With Mardi Gras coming up I have been thinking about some cajun and creole inspired recipes to help celebrate! With the cool winter weather, pasta is always a good option and combining the two ideas led me to this recipe for a cajun inspired mac and cheese! My usual macaroni and cheese recipe is the simple combination of cooked pasta and a cheese sauce and for this one I add some cajun staples including shrimp, sausage, onions, peppers and celery, all of which can be found in recipes like gumbo, etouffee or creole! This recipe starts out by cooking some andouille style sausage along with shrimp, seasoned in a cajun spice blend. Next up, the vegetables are cooked in butter before adding flour to form a roux which will help thicken the sauce once the milk is added making for a luxuriously thick cheese sauce! I like to use several kinds of cheese including cheddar, monterey jack and cream cheese an it’s all seasoned with even more cajun seasoning! You can enjoy the cajun mac and cheese at this stage or you can top it with some breadcrumbs and bake it for a crispy golden brown topping!
Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Mac and Cheese
Cajun seasoned mac and cheese with shrimp and sausage.
- 1 pound pasta (such as macaroni) (gluten-free for gluten-free)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
- 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
- 1/2 pound andouille sausage, diced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 bell peppers (green or yellow, or orange or red), diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
- 4 ounces cream cheese, warmed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- Start cooking the pasta as directed on the package.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the shrimp, seasoned with the cajun seasoning, and cook until cooked, about 2 minutes per side, before setting aside.
- Add the sausage to the pan and cook, before setting aside.
- Add the butter to the pan, let it melt and start to bubble, add the onion, peppers, and celery and cook until tender, about 7-10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cajun seasoning and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
- Sprinkle in the flour and cook, mixing, until until it turns a light golden brown, about 2 minutes.
- Add the milk, mix, bring just to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, about 2-3 minutes.
- Mix in the cheddar cheese, monterey jack cheese and cream cheese and cook, mixing, until the cheese melts into the sauce.
- Mix in the cooked and drained pasta, shrimp and sausage and optionally pour into a large oven safe pan.
- Melt the butter in a pan, mix in the breadcrumbs and set aside.
- Sprinkle the cheese onto the mac and cheese followed by the breadcrumbs before baking in a preheated 350F/180C oven until the breadcrumbs are lightly golden brown, about 15 minute.
Option: Add hot sauce to taste!
Option: Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce!
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wow, what a great mac and cheese, a grown up cajun version, love the twin proteins in this too, thank you!