Cajun Crab Alfredo
Cajun Crab Alfredo- Bucatini pasta is coated in a rich and creamy cajun spiced sauce made even more decadent with the addition of crab.
December 1, 2020 by Nicole Collins
9 months later, we're still in the thick of it.
I couldn't have imagined in my wildest dreams that we'd still be dealing with COVID to this capacity all of these months later. It's equally as unbelievable as it is terrifying.
But honestly, quarantine hasn't been all bad. For me, I feel like I've really upped my cooking game. Not only have I had A LOT more time to dream, create, and test; but, I've also been super conscious about cooking with what I have in the name of making as few grocery trips as possible.
Of all of the delicious things that I've made during this period of downtime, I think the creamy pasta sauce that I created out of desperation early on in quarantine has been my absolute favorite thing to come out of the kitchen. In fact, I've used that same sauce base over and over and over again over the past 9 months. I've made it as the original. I've made variations to the base flavors. I found other ways to use the sauce other than on just pasta. It's really become a Yummy Muffin signature sauce.
And that amazing sauce base is making another appearance in today's recipe.
Today, we're making Cajun Crab Alfredo!
This pasta is rich, decadent, comforting, and PACKED with flavor coming at you from all directions. It's simple, delicious, and comes together in just about 10 minutes. You can't beat that!
Let's talk pasta. One of my favorite pastas of all time is bucatini pasta. So, that's what we're using in this recipe. Bucatini is a long cut pasta that kind of looks like spaghetti. But it's thicker, and it has a little hole going through the center of the pasta...kind of like a pasta straw. Bucatini can really stand up to a hearty pasta sauce while still giving you that whimsy that a long and stringy pasta tends to have. However if you can't find bucatini, you can absolutely use another long pasta like fettuccine or spaghetti.
For our alfredo sauce, we're going to use the magical sauce base that has pretty much changed my quarantine experience. I love alfredo sauce, but it's not exactly one of those sauces that lasts beyond the first day. It tends to break if it's refrigerated and reheated, and you end up with a separated oily mess. And, who wants to eat that? But during this time in quarantine, I think I've cracked the code to the perfect sauce that maintains it's creaminess if you're having leftovers the next day. And, that's thanks to the secret ingredient...cream cheese!
The sauce starts with a little garlic and butter. Then, we add in some milk, heavy cream, parmesan cheese, cajun seasoning, and cream cheese. The cream cheese acts as a binder and a thickening agent to our sauce all at once, and it really ups the creamy factor of this sauce. We let everything gently melt and simmer together in our skillet for just a few minutes until is just starts to thicken, and then it's time for the crab.
Being from Maryland, I was basically born with a love of crab. So, it's ingrained into my soul to use crab in as many ways as possible all year long, and this pasta is the perfect way to switch things up. Typically, crab = Old Bay. But, the sweet crab mixed in the creamy sauce flavored with warm and slightly spicy cajun seasoning is the perfect way to compliment the crab in the same way that Old Bay would. There is a HUGE difference in taste between crab in a can, krab, and fresh crabmeat; so please get the fresh crab if it's available in your area. It's totally worth the splurge.
Once our crab has been gently mixed into our sauce, we're going to add some chives for color and an extra boost of flavor. Then, it's time to toss in our pasta. The sauce may feel a little thin at first, but once we get our pasta mixed in and things start to sit for a few minutes, the sauce really thickens up to a perfectly creamy texture. Plate it, give it an extra sprinkle of chives, and shove it in your mouth!
This pasta is so comforting. The cajun flavoring is mild, so it's not overly spicy. But, there's a nice warmth to this dish. And the creamy sauce mixed with the fresh seafood can't help but put a smile on your face. It's truly delish!
This has kind of been the week of pasta. So, I think we'll switch things up with our next dish and make a delicious pasta substitute. Stay tuned.
Until then, enjoy! And, let's eat!
Cajun Crab Alfredo
Serves: 4 Print
8 oz bucatini pasta
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup heavy cream
¾ cup milk (I used 1%)
3 oz cream cheese (I used low fat)
1 cup freshly shredded parmesan
½ heaping tbsp cajun seasoning
8 oz lump crab meat
1 tbsp chives, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain, and set aside.
Make the sauce: Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, and saute about 30 seconds- 1 minute until fragrant. Add heavy cream, milk, cream cheese, parmesan, cajun seasoning, and a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste. Stir constantly until cheeses are melted and incorporated. Reduce heat to low, and simmer sauce for 5-6 mins, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened.
Increase the heat back to medium, and add crab and chives to the sauce. Toss to coat, and cook another 2-3 mins until the crab is heated through. Add pasta to the skillet, and toss until the pasta is coated in the sauce. Remove from heat. Serve!
*If you don't have bucatini, you could use any long cut of pasta like fettuccine, linguine, spaghetti, etc.
*I highly recommend buying a wedge of parmesan and shredding the cheese yourself. It will melt SO much better than the pre-bagged stuff. You get more bang for your buck, too. And because of the firm texture, you can shred/grate parmesan on anything from a box grater to a microplane.
*If you don't have fresh chives, you could substitute 1 tsp dried minced chives. Don't use dried chives to garnish, though.
*Give the sauce a taste for seasoning after you add the crab. The amount of salt you'll need will depend on if you're using a salt free cajun spice blend or not. Always start with just a pinch. You can add, but you can't take away.
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