This tasty Rasta Pasta recipe is the perfect combination of pasta, shrimp, and Caribbean seasonings. Enjoy this creamy and colorful dish that’s bursting with so many flavors.
If you want to try other delicious pasta recipes, you can’t go wrong with this Cajun chicken pasta or Tuscan chicken pasta.
Table Of Contents
What Is Rasta Pasta?
If you haven’t heard of Rasta Pasta, it’s a delightful combination of Italian and Jamaican cuisines. Penne pasta in a cream sauce paired with colorful bell peppers, marinated shrimp, and Caribbean seasonings. Sauteed to bring out the spicy and smoky flavors, this dish is too delicious to pass up. It also only takes 30 minutes to make and is very versatile. Convenient and yummy!
What You’ll Need
- Penne pasta
- Shrimp– peeled and deveined
- Jerk seasoning– adds tons of flavor and can be homemade or store-bought
- Cayenne pepper (optional)- gives the dish an extra kick
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Avocado oil
- Garlic cloves– adds a delicious pungent flavor to the dish
- Red bell pepper– for flavor and color
- Orange bell pepper– more fresh veggies for bright color and flavor
- Pasta water
- Heavy cream -makes the pasta creamy and rich
- Parmesan cheese (grated)
- Green onion (optional)
Pro Tip: If you can’t find Jerk seasoning or jerk paste anywhere, here is a great recipe on how to make your own jerk seasoning!
How To Make Rasta Pasta
- Cook the pasta. Cook the penne pasta in a pot of salted boiling water. Drain the pasta when done, reserving 1 cup of pasta water for later.
- Season the shrimp. Place the raw shrimp in a large bowl and add 3 tablespoons of jerk seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste (cayenne pepper as well if you like). Mix the shrimp with the seasonings until well coated.
- Cook the shrimp. Over medium-high heat, cook the shrimp in a skillet with avocado oil. Cook for a few minutes, until the shrimp are pink and opaque. Then transfer them to a bowl.
- Cook the garlic and peppers. Now place the minced garlic and sliced bell peppers into the same skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring. After 3-5 minutes, they should be tender.
- Make the sauce. Add the pasta water and heavy cream to the skillet of vegetables. Allow the cream to start simmering before taking the pan off the heat and stirring in the grated Parmesan cheese.
- Add the seasoning, shrimp, and pasta. Now add the rest of the jerk seasoning and stir. Then add the cooked shrimp and penne, stirring to combine everything. Garnish the Rasta Pasta with freshly chopped green onion and serve.
What Is In Jerk Seasoning?
Jerk seasoning is a Jamaican spice mix that typically contains an assortment of spicy, sweet, and salty ingredients, along with pungent herbs. Most commonly, you’ll find it has allspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, onion, brown sugar, ginger, salt, and a spicy element, like Scotch bonnet peppers, cayenne, or red pepper flakes. You can easily make your own, or find it in most stores.
TIP: If you can’t find Jerk seasoning or jerk paste anywhere, here is a great recipe on how to make your own jerk seasoning!
Substitutions And Add-ins
- Sub another protein- Rasta Pasta is often made with shrimp, fish, or chicken. You can use any of those, or try something different if you like in place of the shrimp in this recipe.
- Use a different pasta- Penne works really well here, but you can try other pasta like fusilli, rigatoni, bucatini, or Fettuccine. You can even use gluten-free pasta.
- Make it dairy-free- To skip the dairy, just replace the heavy cream with full-fat coconut milk, and sub nutritional yeast for the Parmesan cheese.
- Add other vegetables- The colorful bell peppers in this Rasta Pasta can be joined by jalapeños, diced tomatoes, onion, or scallions if you want to add some other flavors or more heat.
There are a lot of tasty options when serving this flavorful pasta. Here is what you can serve with rasta pasta:
- Meats: It can be served alongside a juicy Ribeye Steak, braised beef, or air fryer steak.
- Soups: A bowl of soup, such as this Easy French Onion Soup or some Copycat Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup.
- Salads: You could serve it with salad, like this Spinach Salad or smoked salmon salad.
- Sides: A side of Garlic Cheese Bread, roasted air fryer vegetables, or air fryer asparagus.
How To Store And Reheat Rasta Pasta
This Rasta Pasta dish will keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container. To reheat it, either microwave it for a few minutes or place it back in the skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat until warmed through. You can add a splash of heavy cream if too much sauce has absorbed into the pasta and become a bit dry.
More Flavorful Pasta Dishes To Try!
- Creamy Tomato and Mushroom Rotini Pasta
- Rigatoni Bolognese
- 30 minute Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- Creamy Chicken Mushroom Pasta Recipe
- Pesto Gnocchi Recipe
Full Recipe Instructions
Rasta Pasta Recipe
- 1 lb penne pasta
- 2 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
- 5 Tbsp jerk seasoning divided
- Cayenne optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 Tbsp avocado oil
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1 orange bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1 cup pasta water
- 2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 2 green onion sliced thinly (optional)
- Cook pasta and reserve pasta water- Start off by cooking 1 pound of penne pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. Once the pasta is cooked, reserve one cup of the pasta water for later.
- Cook the shrimp- Now place 2 pounds of large raw shrimp (peeled and deveined) into a large bowl. Then add 3 tablespoons of jerk seasoning or jerk paste and season with salt and pepper to taste. You can add a little bit of Cayenne pepper for spiciness if you’d like. Using a spoon, mix the shrimp with the seasoning until well coated.
- Bring a skillet to medium-high heat, then add 4 tablespoons of avocado oil. Then add in your shrimp and cook for a few minutes or until the shrimp are pink and opaque. Then remove the shrimp and transfer to a bowl.
- Cook the garlic and peppers- In the same skillet add 4 minced garlic cloves, 1 thinly sliced red bell pepper, and 1 thinly sliced orange bell pepper. Stir the sliced bell pepper and garlic over medium-high heat for about 3-5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Make the sauce- Now add 1 cup reserved pasta water and 2 cups of heavy cream.
- Then let the cream come to a simmer. Then take the pan off the heat and stir in 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.
- Then stir in 2 tablespoons of jerk seasoning.
- Add shrimp and pasta- Now add the cooked penne pasta and cooked shrimp. Stir to combine, then garnish with freshly chopped green onion.
- Can’t find jerk seasoning? Check the post on how to can make your own!
- Add-ins and substitutes
- How to store and reheat
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I made a few adjustments. I used oxtail for the protein, but the core recipe was fantastic just like I had in Jamaica
Wow that’s awesome Cari! Thank you for the great feedback 🙂
Rasta Pasta doesn’t have meat in it!
Hi Cynthia, I am not too sure where you see meat in this recipe? This recipe calls for shrimp only. I did mention that you can use chicken if you prefer not to use shrimp. I hope that helps clear things up.
Natasha S. says
I followed the directions and the only difference is I chopped the onions and peppers instead of slice. Taste fine but I don’t like that the grated parmesan separated from the liquid and looked clumpy. Why did that happen? I’m wishing I had used a different cheese like maybe asiago.
Hi Natasha, usually if the cheese separates, this means that the cream was too hot. Try taking the cream off the heat for a little before adding the cheese next time. I hope that helps!
Dina, do you have a curry version of this? I tried the recipe and loved it but also was inspired to make it the “classic” way. I tried using this recipe and substituted coconut milk for the cream and pasta water, and rice for the pasta (I also added leek, shallot, and lemongrass), but I can’t get it quite right.
Hi Betty 🙂 I have never tried making a curry version for this rasta pasta. So I can’t really tell you how to make it since I have never made it myself. Glad to hear you enjoyed this recipe 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to leave your feedback!
I gave this Rasta pasta a try, I was very impressed! Very delicious and full of flavor! Thank you for this easy recipe 🙂
You are very welcome! Happy to hear you enjoyed this Rasta pasta recipe 🙂 Thank you for your feedback and I hope you find many more delicious recipes on my blog that you may enjoy 🙂