This creamy Shrimp Pasta Casserole is a good way to stretch your shrimp investment. The from-scratch sauce is a flavorful alfredo-style with the tang of Swiss cheese and zip of seafood spices. Snow peas add a delightful textural crunch. It’s a hands-down winner with seafood fans and makes a filling entree. The ingredients list may look long, but there is nothing exotic, and the recipe goes together in a snap.
Once you try making your own white sauce, you’ll never go back to the jarred stuff. Be sure to read the notes for variations and substitutions.
Shrimp Pasta Casserole Recipe
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon butter, divided use
1/2 pound campanelle, spirals, bowties or your favorite fancy pasta shape
1 large stalk of celery, diced
1/4 cup fine-chopped onion
2 large garlic cloves, squeezed through a garlic press
1 cup (8 ounces) white wine (see Notes)
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup (8 ounces) clam juice (or substitute seafood broth)
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning or seafood spice mix
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound extra-large (26-30 count) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, each cut in half
2 cups (about 1/4 pound) fresh or frozen snow peas (if frozen, do not thaw)
1/2 cup coarsely-chopped roasted red peppers
1/4 cup bacon pieces (not the tiny bits)
1/4 cup sliced green onions, green tops included
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not the canned stuff)
Melt 1 teaspoon of the butter in a skillet. Add the panko bread crumbs and stir-fry until golden. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, so you’re ready to cook the pasta. Make sure to use a generous amount of salt.
Meanwhile, in a heavy 6-quart saucepan over medium-low heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, celery, and the chopped onions. Gently saute until the vegetables soften and turn translucent. Add the pressed garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. Increase heat to high and add the white wine. Cook until the wine is reduced by half.
Stir the flour into the wine mixture and whisk until combined and the mixture begins to thicken. When the sauce comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium and add the heavy cream. Return to a simmer. Stir in the Swiss cheese and heat gently until melted. Add Old Bay seasoning, dill weed, nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and let cool while the pasta cooks.
Preheat oven to 425 F. Coat a 9- x 13-inch glass casserole dish with vegetable spray.
Cook the bowtie pasta in boiling salted water until not quite al dente. More cooking will come later, so you want the pasta still pretty firm. Drain and return to the pot.
Stir the shrimp, snow peas, red peppers, bacon bits, and green onions into the seafood white sauce, then mix with the drained pasta. Pour into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle evenly with the browned panko bread crumbs and top with Parmesan cheese.
BBake for 20 minutes. Serve Shrimp Pasta Casserole with garlic bread and a green salad.
Yield: 6 servings
• Do not overcook this casserole or the shrimp will become tough. This is the reason for the high temperature and short cooking time. The snow peas are supposed to retain some crunch.
• Substitute your favorite pasta for the bowties.
• If you cannot use wine, substitute 1/2 cup of seafood, chicken, or vegetable broth and skip the reduction step. Add the flour to the veggies and cook at least 1 minute to make a roux before adding liquid.
• Green beans, asparagus, broccoli, or baby sweet peas may be substituted for the snow peas.
• Fresh salmon cut into 1-inch pieces may be substituted for the shrimp, or use half shrimp and half salmon.
• Please do not skip the nutmeg. It rounds out the white sauce without adding any flavor.
Shrimp Pasta Casserole Recipe Photo ©2018 Peggy Filippone