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Shrimp Alfredo Smothered Baked White Cheddar Rigatoni

A crazy comforting combination of baked white cheddar rigatoni topped with a creamy shrimp and mushroom white wine Alfredo sauce.

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WHAT’S GOING ON HERE:

Rigatoni: Rigatoni pasta is a tube-shaped pasta that is slightly curved. It’s similar to penne but has a wider radius. Rigatoni makes the perfect pasta for creamy sauces since it holds sauce really well.

Half and Half: The key to restaurant-style creamy anything is generally cream and butter, a lot of it! So i never skimp on it at home. Half and half is half cream and half milk it’s slightly thickened but needs a little help on its own, that is why the addition of flour is necessary. If you’re using cream omit the flour.

Butter: Butter brings it all together. Butter at the end mixed into a creamy pasta or sauce gives it a smooth and velvety texture. Make sure to turn the heat off while incorporating the butter so it doesn’t separate.

Cheese: This dish is all about cheese and cream from cream cheese to white cheddar, Alternatively if you can’t find white cheddar just double up on the mozzarella. You want your rigatoni structure to be solid with cheese.

Shrimp: Shrimp adds a little seafood sweetness to this dish. It’s a really excellent pairing with a cream sauce. This recipe can alternatively be made with chicken or crawfish.

Mushrooms: Mushrooms add earthiness to the dish and help cut some of the richness. Use any mushroom medley you have on hand.

Wine: White wine cuts through the fat of the cream and butter. It helps the dish have more flavor other than fat. Use a sharp dry white wine to add some fruitiness to the dish.

TIPS & TRICKS FOR THE BEST SHRIMP ALFREDO SMOTHERED BAKED WHITE CHEDDAR RIGATONI

brown alfredo sauce: oftentimes when making Alfredo it’s a bright white sauce. when you include the addition of mushrooms it can make it pretty mucky. the key to reducing the brown leeching of the mushrooms is to cook them thoroughly to the point they maintain no excess water, then deglaze and simmer them in wine. reducing the moisture in the mushrooms prior to building the cream sauce will reduce some of the brown leeching. if you add your dairy too soon and the sauce is brown no worries. it will still taste the same.

the rigatoni structure: the key to the rigatoni is making sure it has enough cheese and baking it long enough. you want the rigatoni to set up like a lasagna so that it stays stacked tall once its slightly cooled and cut.

wine and cream: wine is acidic. adding it directly into the dairy will result in curdled milk. you want to give the wine ample time to simmer before adding dairy that way you maintain a silky creamy sauce. if you forget to deglaze with the wine you can always simmer it on the side and then add it to the sauce.

resting and topping: like a lasagna you want the rigatoni to rest. it is pretty much all cream, butter, and cheese. when it’s hot it won’t stand as tall letting it rest for 10-15 minutes will help it stay structurally sound.

finishing the shrimp: start the sauce building by searing the shrimp in the pan you plan on making the sauce in. sear the shrimp quickly over high heat to get a little color on the shrimp. once removed from the pan reduce the heat then start building the sauce. once the sauce is near complete add the shrimp back in to finish cooking.

SIMILAR INGREDIENTS TO:

  1. GARLIC BUTTER SHRIMP SCAMPI
  2. CAJUN BLACK PEPPER SHRIMP
  3. CRAWFISH, SHRIMP & SWEET PEPPER PENNE

ENJOY THIS RECIPE WITH:

  1. SHRIMP STUFFED BAKED POTATO
  2. GRILLED SHRIMP W/ CAJUN BUTTER
  3. BLOODY MARY SHRIMP COCKTAIL

Shrimp Alfredo Smothered Baked White Cheddar Rigatoni

Shrimp Alfredo Smothered Baked White Cheddar Rigatoni
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INGREDIENTS

  • WHITE CHEDDAR RIGATONI
  • 1LB Rigatoni
  • 8oz Cream Cheese
  • 1/4c Half and half
  • 1/4c Butter
  • 2c Mozzarella Cheese
  • 2TB Parmesan Cheese
  • 1c White Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2c Cheddar, for topping only
  • 1tsp Black Pepper
  • 1Tb Garlic Powder
  • 1tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt
  • SHRIMP AND MUSHROOM CREAM SAUCE:
  • 3Tb Butter
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, minced
  • 1.5lb Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 8oz Mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1/2c White Wine
  • 1-2tb Flour
  • 3c Half and Half
  • 1/4c Parmesan Cheese
  • 1Tb Parsley, freshly minced
  • 1Tb Garlic Powder
  • 1tsp Black Pepper
  • 1tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1tsp Thyme
  • 1tsp Oregano
  • 1tsp Rosemary
  • Salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Start off by making the baked rigatoni.
  • Cook the rigatoni in salted water, according to package instructions for al dente pasta.
  • Once the pasta is drained. Add half and half to the pan along with cream cheese and melt.
  • Once the cream cheese is melted add the pasta back in along with all the cheeses and spices listed. Reserve about 1c for the top. Season with salt to taste.
  • Once the rigatoni is tossed in cheese. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and toss the pasta into the pan. Top with remainder white cheese and cheddar.
  • Bake at 350f for 30 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
  • In the meantime, make the shrimp alfredo sauce.
  • Start the alfredo sauce by melting butter in the pan.
  • Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Then toss in the pan and cook for about two minutes.
  • Cook the shrimp enough for some color. They'll finish cooking in the sauce at the end.
  • Remove the shrimp from the pan. Add in mushrooms and onions. Cook for 10 minutes so that the mushrooms and onions get some color. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt at the end.
  • Pour in white wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a rubber spatula.
  • Let the wine simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Add in flour and start moving it around the pan.
  • Once all the flour is incorporated add in half and half. Bring to a slight boil then immediately reduce it to a simmer. Whisking the entire time. Once the sauce has thickened. Add in parmesan, oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley, garlic powder, and peppers. Season with salt to taste. Reduce the heat to almost off. Then add the shrimp and parsley back in to finish cooking in the residual heat.
  • Let the shrimp sit for at least 10 minutes.
  • Once the rigatoni is baked let it rest for 15 minutes so that the cheese hardens up a little. Cut the rigatoni into squares then top with the shrimp alfredo sauce. Finish it off with grated cheese and parmesan.
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