In February, I visited Montego Bay, Jamaica with a group of girlfriends. We stayed at the breathtaking Secrets Resort St. James which had eight incredible restaurants to choose from during our stay. The only problem is our stay was just four nights and five days, hardly enough time to sink our teeth into the massive selection of delectable foods available at every turn. Oh, but believe me, we did our best!
One of my favorite places to eat was the World Cafe where this buffet-style restaurant served a stunning selection of dishes from around the world. It was there that I met one of the resident chefs, Ricardo, who created beautifully prepared pasta any way you like it. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to see how genuine Jamaican pasta might taste, so instead of telling him what I wanted, I asked Ricardo to create one of his favorite pasta dishes for me. In minutes, an inspiration was born!
This creative cutie pie whipped up a shrimp penne pasta with cream sauce and a touch of cajun spice that set this dish apart from most other pasta dishes I have tried. I was so inspired by Ricardo’s pasta that as soon as I returned home, I created my own version of Jamaican Cajun pasta that has now become one of my favorite Jamaican recipes (apart from Jerk chicken of course) to date.
The thing I love most about this pasta is its versatility. I added both shrimp and Andouille sausage to my recipe because I wanted a combination of seafood and meat with a kick. If you are not a fan of either, you can easily substitute one or both for your choice of seafood or meat. Lobster would be a stunning choice, and grilled chicken or turkey would be a delightful option if they happen to suit your taste more. The same for the vegetables.
I happen to like the sweetness of the corn and the acidity of the tomatoes combined with the spicy cream sauce, but you could also use mushrooms, bell peppers, spinach, or just about any vegetable you like. The true flavor comes from the sauce and the cajun spice – the rest is just personality. If you don’t have Cajun spice at home, have no fear. You can find my recipe for homemade Cajun spice. So have fun with this recipe and see which combination suits you and your family best.
The next time you are on the hunt for a memorable vacation experience, consider putting Jamaica on your bucket list. It’s a beautiful land rooted in a passionate culture, beautiful people, a vibrant language, and of course, amazing Jamaican cuisine that will take you on a palatal journey to Cajun paradise. Visit my post on how to speak Patois, a traditional Jamaican language that’s as fun to speak as it is to hear. “Avo gud day, man.”
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