Southwestern Shrimp with Pasta or Rice Recipe

 Southwestern Shrimp with Pasta or Rice Recipe
During the summer months it’s a blessing to make recipes that take very little time. This Southwestern Shrimp with Cilantro Rice recipe is full of flavor and is also quick and easy to make. Fresh jalapenos are added to this recipe which will kick up the heat a little bit. I remove the seeds and the ribs (the white parts) from the chilies before dicing. If you like your food really spicy, go ahead and leave the ribs attached as these carry most of the heat!

Fresh chili peppers have great health benefits, such as vitamin A (for the skin and the eyes) and vitamin C (a great antioxidant). Chilies are less harsh on the palate once they are cooked. If you have an iron mouth and wish to add raw chilies to this recipe towards the end of cooking and really feel the burn, then please, be my guest! You can use any chili pepper you want in this recipe. Fresno, California and poblano chili peppers are milder if you can find them in your area. They all impart a wonderful flavor without being spicy and the dish will be more kid-friendly. If you can’t find pasilla chili powder in your market, then you can use regular chili powder.

My family love seafood, so I always have to make extra of this southwestern shrimp scampi with pasta or cilantro rice. The ingredients for this recipe are based on serving six people (or 4 people really well). On the rare occasions when there may be leftovers, I buy some small tortillas and turn them into tacos. I have a list of taco toppings on the link at the bottom of this page related to my carnitas taco night recipe. This recipe is also great with your favorite pasta.

2 lbs. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 tbsp. smoky or sweet paprika
2 tbsp. pasilla chili powder (or 1 tbsp. regular chili powder)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 ½ cups white wine (chardonnay recommended), divided
2 large bunches fresh cilantro, chopped (at least 2 packed cups)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 large jalapeno chili peppers, seeded, deveined and finely diced
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 lb. thin spaghetti, cooked according to package (if using)
3 cups long grain rice (if using)
6 cups water (use 5 ½ cups for a slightly firmer rice texture)
1 tbsp. kosher salt
¼ cup green (scallions) onions, sliced thinly on the bias for garnish


1. In a resealable plastic bag combine the first 6 ingredients, using only ½ a cup of the wine and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Marinate for 1 hour or more in the refrigerator.

2. Combine the rice, water and salt in a deep pot. Bring to a boil stirring often until the water boils. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for approximately 20 minutes or until the rice is tender but not too soft. Turn off the heat and immediately add 1 cup of the fresh cilantro and fluff with a fork. Replace the lid and keep the rice warm whilst you cook the shrimp.

3. Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet on medium heat until it moves around fast in the pan when you tilt the handle. Add the onions to the pan and sprinkle with a ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring. Raise the heat to medium high.

4. Add the marinated shrimp (including the marinade) to the pan and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. The shrimp are done when they all turn pink. Next, add the remaining fresh cilantro and stir. Turn off the heat. Do not overcook them or they will be tough. Garnish with the green onions and serve immediately over the rice. Cook with love and enjoy!


Always wear plastic gloves when preparing chili peppers or make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling them.

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