Cajun Shrimp and Crab Stuffed Shells in Vodka Sauce

Cajun Shrimp and Crab Stuffed Shells in Vodka Sauce WHOOP! This is an epic good and deliciously decadent stuffed shells recipe with a dreamy seafood filling and luxurious Cajun vodka sauce. Save this recipe for a special occasion, holiday, or family supper. Need a new Sunday dinner? Here you go!

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spatula lifting a Cajun Shrimp and crab stuffed shell in casserole dish

Why this recipe works

I generally love my own cooking but I impressed the crap outta my own self with this one. This is balls-hit-out-of-the-park creative, special, delicious, AND not hard to make whatsoever.

Succulent shrimp and lump crab meat are mixed into a cheesy ricotta filling with herbs and seasonings, then baked in pasta shells under a Cajun vodka sauce. The flavors in these shrimp and crab stuffed shells marry and create a dinner worthy of any special occasion or family supper.

fully cooked recipe fresh from the oven

About the ingredients

Do not be put off by the ingredient list in the recipe card! There are not that many ingredients I swear. I just have them broken out by recipe element (such as sauce, filling, etc), but you can see that many ingredients are repeated. Here is the consolidated shopping list for this recipe and most are pantry staples anyway:

  • A box of jumbo pasta shells
  • Shrimp. I buy frozen medium-sized shrimp already peeled and deveined.
  • Jumbo lump crab. Find this at the seafood counter. I rarely spring for jumbo lump crab, but I did here. Lump crab (which is median priced) works just as well.
  • Yellow onion. Subbing white onion is perfectly fine.
  • Ricotta cheese. Part skim or whole milk ricotta – doesn’t matter.
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Vodka
  • Light cream
  • Marinara sauce. You can purchase or use my Homemade Marinara Sauce recipe.
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Louisianna hot sauce. I am very particular about my hot sauce and it is a key flavor in the sauce.
  • Kosher salt
  • Old Bay seafood seasoning
  • Black pepper
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Fontina cheese. I find Fontina in the fancy cheese section near the deli in the grocery store. If not available, omit and replace with more mozzarella cheese or fresh parmesan.
  • Mozzarella cheese

Or, to simplify another way: pasta, olive oil, filling stuff (seafood, ricotta, and onion), sauce stuff (marinara, garlic, cream, and vodka), seasonings (and hot sauce), herbs, and cheeses. It is not that bad! Besides, sometimes truly special recipes require all the ingredients.

How to make this recipe

Here are the steps to make my CAJUN Shrimp and Crab Stuffed Shells in VODKA Sauce… in photos. See the recipes card for the details.

Briefly cook the shrimp. It’s better to undercook than overcook to keep the shrimp tenders and because they will finish cooking in the oven.

collage of 2 photos: uncooked, seasoned shrimp in metal bowl; cooked shrimp in skillet with wood spoon

In the same pan used for the shrimp, sauté the onion until golden.

onions cooked in skillet with wood spoon

Make the filling (left) then stuff the shells (right). Full disclosure I use my hands to stuff the shells rather than a spoon. It’s just easier.

2 photos: ricotta seafood filling and stuffed shells
stuffed pasta shells, uncooked and before topping with sauce

Top with the vodka marinara sauce and cheeses, and bake.

fully prepared recipe before baking

FAQs

Is there a substitute for the vodka?

First, point of order: the alcohol cooks off in this preparation. But that said, if you still want to avoid this ingredients, simply omit. No worries.

spatula lifting a Cajun Shrimp and crab stuffed shell in casserole dish
spatula lifting a Cajun Shrimp and crab stuffed shell in casserole dish

Cajun Shrimp and Crab Stuffed Shells in Vodka Sauc

Cajun Shrimp and Crab Stuffed Shells in Vodka Sauce WHOOP! This is an epic good and deliciously decadent stuffed shells recipe with a dreamy seafood filling and luxurious Cajun vodka sauce. Save this recipe for a special occasion, holiday, or family supper. Need a new Sunday dinner? Here you go!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cajun seafood stuffed shells, Cajun shrimp and crab stuffed shells, Cajun vodka sauce, crab shells with vodka sauce
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Authur: Erica
Servings: 6
Calories: 601kcal

Ingredients

For the Cajun vodka sauce

For the shrimp

For the seafood filling

For the stuffed shells

  • 12 oz jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Fontina cheese
  • garnish: chopped basil and parsley

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 350℉. Put a large pot of water to boil.

Make the Cajun vodka sauce

  • In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over high heat.
  • Add the garlic and cook quickly until fragrant and golden.
  • Add the vodka and simmer until reduced to ~1/3 cup (about 8 minutes).
  • Add the marinara sauce, Cajun seasoning, hot sauce, and cream. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Cook the shrimp

  • Heat a skillet over high heat.
  • Toss the shrimp (chopped if large; halved if medium-sized) in the olive oil and seasoning.
  • Add the shrimp to the skillet and sauté briefly until shrimp pieces are barely opaque (the shrimp will finish cooking in the oven). Remove from the heat and transfer to a mixing bowl.

Make the seafood filling

  • Use a paper towel to wipe out the skillet used for the shrimp and heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over high heat.
  • Add the onion and sauté until golden. Transfer to the bowl with the shrimp.
  • To the bowl with the onion and shrimp, add the remaining ingredients for the filling and combine.

Assemble the shells and bake

  • Add the pasta shells to the boiling water and cook to al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse immediately with cool water.
  • Spread 1/2 cup of the Cajun vodka sauce in a 13 x 9 bake dish.
  • Spoon filling into pasta shells. Place filled shells in the bake dish.
  • Cover the stuffed shells with remaining sauce. Top with remaining cheeses.
  • Bake at 350℉ for 30 minutes or until golden on top and bubbly throughout. Garnish (if desired) and serve.

Notes

For the marinara sauce, I prefer my Homemade Marinara sauce but if purchasing jarred sauce, I prefer this one.

Nutrition

Serving: 4shells | Calories: 601kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 123mg | Sodium: 962mg | Potassium: 137mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g

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