Inspired by Jamaican rasta pasta, our Jerk Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo uses an authentic Alfredo technique with no cream and is mixed with jerk marinade and jerk shrimp for a silky and spicy fusion pasta recipe that comes together in 20 minutes.
We love fusion food – taking the best parts or techniques of two dishes and combining them to create new flavors and profiles. Our jerk shrimp pasta does just that. Jerk is one of our favorite marinades to mashup with other recipes. A distinctive flavor with smoky and sweet aromatics, jerk uses spices like allspice (pimento), thyme, and ginger, all native to the island of Jamaica.
Using an authentic Alfredo sauce recipe technique of butter, pasta water, and parmesan cheese (no cream) to achieve a creamy pasta sauce mixed with jerk marinade, our jerk shrimp pasta is an inspired rasta pasta recipe with shrimp blending Italian and Jamaican cuisines into a truly mouthwatering dish.
The result is a rich, flavorful, and silky pasta recipe with succulent shrimp marinated in jerk, then tossed in al dente fettuccine pasta and finished with freshly grated parmesan cheese and finely chopped green onions. The best part of this jerk shrimp fettuccine alfredo recipe (aside from the creamy homemade Alfredo sauce) is how quickly it comes together in one skillet, in 20 minutes. It’s a weekday or weekend creamy pasta recipe that’s sure to become a weekly staple, like our Creamy Carbonara.
If you love the intense and distinctive flavor of Jamaican jerk shrimp, you’ll love our Grilled Jerk Chicken Sandwiches with Grilled Pineapple, BBQ Jerk Chicken Bowl with Pineapple Coleslaw, or our Caribbean-inspired Street Corn.
- Shrimp: Use large fresh or frozen shrimp, shells and veins removed.
- Jerk marinade: Our recipe calls for a wet jerk seasoning or marinade.
- Salted butter: Use the best quality accessible to you.
- Fettuccine: Use dry fettuccine noodles. Spaghetti, pappardelle, or another long dry noodle may also be used.
- Pasta water: This provides flavor and is one of the keys to the creaminess of the recipe. Reserve pasta water just before the noodles are finished cooking.
- Parmesan: Quality, freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano is a must for authentic fettuccinne Alfredo. Pre-grated or imitation parm will not melt into the sauce properly.
- Green Onions: Fresh, thinly sliced for garnish. Optional, but recommended.
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
Recipe Steps: How to Make Jerk Shrimp Fettuccini Alfredo
1. Marinate the shrimp.
Place raw shrimp in a bowl. Season with jerk marinade, toss to coat and set aside.
2. Cook the pasta.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add fettuccine and cook until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than instructed on the package. (Do not drain the pasta water, you will need about 1 cup of it for the sauce!)
3. Cook the shrimp.
Melt butter in a saute pan, add the shrimp, and cook until bright orange, lightly caramelized and just cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
4. Build the sauce base.
Return pan to low heat and add jerk marinade, half a ladle of pasta water, and butter.
5. Emilsify the base.
Gently heat the sauce to a simmer, while stirring, until the butter is melted into the sauce and smooth.
6. Add the noodles.
Transfer the cooked fettuccine noodles to the butter sauce. Toss to coat the noodles, which will be creamy and shiny from the butter. Add additional pasta water if the pasta seems a little dry.
7. Add the parm.
Add the parmesan, a handful at a time, stirring until melted after each addition.
8. Make it creamy.
Again, add pasta water a couple of tablespoons at a time as the parm is absorbed into the sauce to make it creamier.
9. Garnish and serve.
Stir in the jerk shrimp and garnish with thinly sliced green onion and grated parm.
The creaminess of this recipe is a direct result of the starchy, salty, pasta water, and you MUST reserve the pasta water for the sauce. If for some reason, you forget and drain the water, you can substitute it with heavy cream. If using frozen shrimp, ensure to thaw it, either in the fridge or cold water, before marinating.
- Jerk Chicken Pasta: Simply swap out the shrimp for sliced chicken breast and follow the recipe the same way.
- Vegetarian Jerk Alfredo: Remove the shrimp and follow the recipe, eliminating steps 1 and 3.
- Authentic Fettuccine Alfredo: Follow the recipe omitting the jerk seasoning, shrimp, and green onions. Cook the pasta, melt butter in a saute pan with pasta water, stir in the noodles, and gradually add cheese until creamy. Season with a little pepper before plating.
While different than the original interpretation (described below), rasta pasta is most commonly made as a creamy tomato penne pasta, with green, yellow, and red bell peppers and jerk seasoning. It can be made with coconut milk or ackee and often has jerk chicken or jerk shrimp.
Rasta pasta originated in Negril, Jamaica, in 1985. It was created by Chef Loraine Washington, who made pasta for construction workers that consisted of fettuccine topped with tomato sauce and ackee. The workers commented on how the pasta resembled the colors of the Jamaican flag and the noodles resembled dreadlocks. It came to be known as Rasta Pasta.
Traditional Fettuccine Alfredo is made only with fettuccine, butter, and Parmigiano Regiano. It is often made in restaurants with cream, which provides a more consistent pasta, however, authentic fettuccine alfredo does not have cream.
- 20 shrimp shells removed and devained
- 2 teaspoon jerk marinade
- 2 teaspoon salted butter
- 8 oz fettuccine or other long pasta noodle
- 2 teaspoon jerk marinade
- 8 oz butter cubed
- 8 oz Parmesan plus additional for serving
- 2 green onions thinly slice, for serving
- Toss shrimp with 2 teaspoon jerk marinade in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. The water should taste like sea water; using about 1 tablespoon of salt for every 4 cups of water. Drop the pasta in the water cook about until very al dente, pliable but still has a tough texture (about 2 minutes less than the package instructions)
- Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons of butter in a saute pan or large frying pan with high sides, over medium-high heat. Cook for 4-5 minutes, turning once, until bright orange, lightly caramelized and just cooked through. Transfer the shrimp to a bowl and set aside.
- Without cleaning the pan, return it to low heat. Remove 1 1⁄2 cups of pasta water and set aside. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of jerk marinade, ¼ cup of pasta water, and remaining 8 ounces of butter. Stir with a whisk or tongs to emulsify the butter, water, and jerk.
- Add the fettuccine noodles and toss to coat in the butter sauce. It will be creamy and glossy. Add additional pasta water, 2 tablespoons at a time, if necessary to get a creamy consistency.
- Add the Parmesan, a handful at a time, stirring after each addition, until melted and blended into the butter sauce. Again, add pasta water, 2 tablespoons at time, to maintain a very creamy consistency.
- Add the jerk shrimp into the fettuccine alfredo and toss to coat in the sauce. Garnish with thinly sliced green onions and grated parmesan. Serve family style in a large bowl, or plate individually.
If using frozen shrimp, ensure to thaw it, either in the fridge or cold water, before marinating.