Shrimp Rasta Pasta is a delicious fusion of Caribbean and Italian pasta. It's a creamy pasta dish that's easy to make and full of flavor!
The colorful bell peppers not only add a great flavor, but the dish is simply stunning. You can make this recipe in your Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or on the stove. It's ready in under an hour and that includes making the delicious shrimp stock.
This simple pasta dish is always a crowd pleaser!
In this quick audio clip, I go over some important tips and highlights that will help you make a successful dish when you don't have time to read all the information included in this recipe article.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! Simply double all of the ingredients. If you are making this in your electric pressure cooker, you will want to make a few adjustments in the liquid amount and time.
Instead of doubling the amount of stock/broth, you will want to use 4 ¼ cups and decrease your pressure cooking time to 4 minutes. This will allow for the increased time to pressure and not overcook your pasta.
You can reheat the pasta dish many different ways. My favorite way is to use the steam function on the Ninja Foodi and put 2 cups of water in the inner pot, the rasta pasta in a covered dish on the rack with a splash or two of cream and steam for 10-15 minutes. I find this method to gently heat the pasta and sauce without overcooking the pasta.
I have also reheated in the microwave in 60-second intervals, stirring after each cycle. You will also want to add a little cream or milk to the pasta when reheating.
Another way to reheat is using a slow cooker. Add the rasta pasta with some extra cream and stir. Reheat on high for 15-20 minutes or on low for 20-30 minutes, stirring a few times during the cook time.
You certainly can freeze the leftovers, but you will most likely have a thinner and more watery sauce when you thaw and reheat. I have found that reheating on the stove works best after the rasta pasta has been frozen. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator and then reheat in a skillet over low heat uncovered. Add some extra cream. If the sauce is still too thin, add some grated Italian cheese blend to thicken it up.
Before freezing, make sure the rasta pasta has cooled completely. I recommend leaving it in the refrigerator overnight. Then place into an airtight container or freezer bag. You want to pick a container that is sized for the amount of leftovers you have. This way you will limit the amount of air if you are using a container instead of a bag. For best results, use up the leftovers within 3 months.
Pressure Cooker Pasta Recipes
If you love quick and easy pasta dishes, you are going to love these recipes! They are all made right in your pressure cooker and are perfect for special occasions or a weeknight meal!
If you have a pressure cooker and don't use it as much as you would like or you've never used because you are intimidated by it, read this article on pressure cooking and I bet it will alleviate your fears! Pressure Cooking 101
- Lemon Garlic Pasta with Vegetables ~ Ninja Foodi or Pressure Cooker Recipe
- Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta
- Chicken Alfredo in the Ninja Foodi/Instant Pot
- Easy Shrimp Scampi in the Ninja Foodi
- Quick & Easy Chicken Carbonara ~ Ninja Foodi or Pressure Cooker Recipe
- Ninja Foodi Spaghetti Recipe
- One-Pot Sausage Peppers & Pasta ~ Pressure Cooker Recipe
- One-Pot Pasta Primavera ~ Ninja Foodi Recipe
Ingredients & Substitutions
I used 21-30 count raw shrimp with the shells on and it works perfectly in this recipe, especially if you want to make the shrimp stock. I don't recommend using jumbo shrimp that has 10-15 count per pound because they tend to be tough and you want a nice tender shrimp in this recipe.
If you are going to skip making the stock and use a seafood stock, chicken broth or plain water instead, you can use precooked shrimp that have already been shelled. I do recommend thawing them in the fridge before adding to the dish after the pasta is cooked, so they don't add additional liquid to your rasta pasta.
You can also use raw, already peeled shrimp and those are perfectly fine to add from frozen to the pasta/liquid and pressure cook them together.
Chicken can be substituted for the shrimp. I would use either boneless skinless chicken breast or boneless skinless thighs cut into about 1½" cubes or you could cut them into strips. Season the chicken just like I season the shrimp and add it to the pasta and liquid before pressure cooking.
I use my own jerk seasoning blend and it was developed just for this recipe. I really recommend using it so the balance of spices and salt is correct in the recipe. However, there are a lot of different spices in the recipe and if you don't have them on hand, you can certainly use your own blend of spices or your favorite store-bought jerk seasoning.
I use 3 Tablespoons of seasoning in this recipe, but there is only 1½ teaspoons of salt in it. Various jerk seasoning blends may have more salt, so if you think yours is on the salty side, decrease the amount used to 1-2 Tablespoons and then add more at the end, if needed.
The jerk seasoning blend in this recipe is a mild spice, so if you like things on the spicier side, add more cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes!
If you aren't a fan of jerk seasoning, try making it with your favorite seasoning blend. My mom tried it with a Cajun seasoning she had on hand and loved it!
I recommend using a short noodle pasta, like penne pasta or rotini in this recipe. My favorite is rotini because the ridges really hold onto that sauce. You can use any pasta you like, just adjust your cooking time.
If you are using Farfalle or Elbows, I would PC for 5 minutes.
For Fettuccine, PC for 4 minutes
Spaghetti noodles, PC for 3 minutes.
Peppers & Onions
The peppers used are the colors are similar to the Rastafarian colors, Green, Gold, Red, hence the name Rasta Pasta. I use a combination of green bell peppers as well as yellow and red mini peppers. I like the mini peppers because they seem to last longer and, if I only want a little bit of diced bell pepper, I don't have to cut a larger bell pepper. Either work in this recipe. If you want to use red bell peppers, you will need one for the shrimp stock and one for the dish. I would also use 1 yellow bell pepper.
You can omit any or all of the peppers if you aren't a fan or use the variety of bell peppers you love. You can also use jalapeño peppers or scotch bonnet peppers to really spice things up!
I use sweet onions in this recipe, but you can use yellow, white, or even red onions. You can also omit the onions and it won't change the recipe instructions.
Cream & Cheese
The heavy cream and cheese are what makes the cream sauce. It's similar to an alfredo sauce, but with the Caribbean seasonings. You can use as little or as much of either ingredient to get the creamy sauce you love. I use 1½ cups of a pre shredded Italian blend that has Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, fontina, and Asiago.
Any combination of cheeses that you love will work, but I wouldn't use all Parmesan or the sauce will take on a different flavor.
You can use cream cheese instead of the cream and shredded cheeses if you'd like. The flavor will be slightly different, but it will still be delicious!
You can also use regular milk or half and half instead of heavy cream, but your sauce won't be as thick.
If you can't have dairy, you can also use a soy-based cream and omit the cheese. Or, you can pressure cook the pasta in 3 cups of water and use the pasta water as the sauce.
Shrimp Rasta Pasta Stovetop Instructions
Making the Shrimp Stock
Making stock from the shrimp shells isn't absolutely necessary for a successful dish, but it does add another layer of flavor that I think is absolutely worth the time it takes to make.
Once you peel your shrimp, add the shells to a large pot. Add in 6 cups of water, crushed garlic cloves, red pepper cut in half, and 1 Tablespoon of the jerk seasoning.
Bring the liquid to a boil, and then decrease the heat so that the liquid is simmering. Let simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes. Strain and return the shrimp stock back to the pot for cooking the pasta in.
Cooking the Pasta
Bring the shrimp stock to a boil and add in the pasta. *If you don't have enough liquid to cook the pasta in, add some water to the pot. Cook the pasta according to the package directions and then strain from the liquid, reserving ½ cup of the pasta liquid for later. You won't use the entire ½ cup, but it's better to have it in case your sauce is too thick.
Return the pasta to the large pot.
Sautéing the Vegetables & Shrimp
While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet on medium high heat and add about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil.
Add in the pepper strips, diced onions, and ½ Tablespoon of jerk seasoning. Sauté until they are about 75% done. The time will vary depending on how you like your vegetables, but usually takes about 5-7 minutes or so. The peppers won't cook much longer, so make sure the texture is how you like them.
Season the peeled shrimp with ½ Tablespoon of the jerk seasoning and add the skillet. Sauté with the peppers and onions for about 3-5 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink and curl slightly. I don't check the temperature of the shrimp, I go by looks, but if you want to check the internal temperature with your instant read thermometer, it should read 145F/63℃.
Completing the Shrimp Rasta Pasta
Pour the pepper, onion, and shrimp mixture into the large pot with the pasta. Add in 2 Tablespoons of the reserved pasta water. Then stir in the shredded cheese and ½-1 cup of cream. The amount of cream you add will depend on how creamy you want the sauce. I always use 1 cup.
Add in the chopped green peppers and give it a good stir.
Garnish with chopped cilantro when serving. Enjoy!
Shrimp Rasta Pasta Pressure Cooker Instructions
Pressure Cooking the Shrimp Rasta Pasta is my favorite way of making it. I think the pressure cooker infuses flavor better than cooking stove top. I use my Ninja Foodi pressure cooker & air crisper for the recipe, but the only two functions I use are sear/sauté and pressure cook, so any electric pressure cooker will work perfectly fine.
Pressure Cooking Shrimp Stock
This is definitely optional, but I find the time it takes to make the stock from shrimp shells is totally worth it because of the added flavor in the dish. If you don't want to make the stock, just use a chicken stock or a vegetable stock. You can even use plain water, seasoned with 1 Tablespoon of the jerk seasoning, if you like.
Put the shrimp shells into the inner pot and add 2½ cups of water. Smash 4 garlic cloves with the back of a knife and add to the pot. I peel the garlic cloves after smashing them, but it isn't necessary since they will be strained out. Cut a red bell pepper into chunks or cut 2 mini red peppers in half and add to the pot. Add ½ of an onion (any kind is fine) and 1 Tablespoon of jerk seasoning.
Stir and put the pressure lid on. Turn the valve to seal and set the time to 5 minutes on high pressure cook. Once the time is up, immediately release the pressure and remove the lid when the button drops.
Strain the shrimp stock using a fine sieve strainer to remove the solid ingredients. You should end up with about 2¼ cups of stock. If you have more, you will only use 2¼ to cook the pasta. If you have less, add enough water so you have a total of 2¼ cups.
Rinse out the pot to make sure all the shrimp shells are removed.
Sautèing the Vegetables and Shrimp
To save time, I recommend prepping the vegetables while the stock is cooking.
Dice 1 medium onion into about ¼-½" dice. You should end up with about 1 cup of diced onion.
If you are using all bell peppers, cut each of them into strips about ½" wide. If you are using the mini peppers, you can either cut them into strips or cut them into rounds. You should end up with between ¾-1 cup of each of the peppers you are using.
The total amounts of the peppers and onions really doesn't matter. I've made it without onion and with less peppers and it's wonderful.
Season the shrimp with ½ Tablespoon of jerk seasoning and toss to coat.
Add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil (or any oil you like) to the inner pot and turn the sear/sauté on high. *If using a stainless steel pot, you may want to decrease the temp to medium high.
When the oil is hot, add in the strips of peppers, onions, and ½ Tablespoon of homemade jerk seasoning (or store-bought). Sauté until the peppers are about 75% done. This will vary based on how you like your peppers cooked. I like mine firm, but not snappy and definitely not soft. For that texture it takes about 7-8 minutes. Make sure to stir the vegetables frequently to avoid burning, and if you are seeing any signs of burning, turn the heat down.
Add in the shrimp and continue to sauté with the peppers and onions for 3-5 minutes. The shrimp will turn light pink and slightly curl when they are done. I go by looks, but if you want to take an internal temperature of the shrimp, it should be 145℉/63℃.
Once everything is cooked, remove the contents of the inner pot and put them into a bowl. Set aside while you make the pasta. If you are prepping this recipe ahead of time, put the peppers and shrimp into an airtight container and refrigerate until using.
Time saving Tip: If you want to speed up the process, you can use a large skillet on the stove to sauté the peppers, onions, and shrimp while the shrimp stock is pressure cooking. This will reduce the time it takes to make the recipe from 50 minutes to about 45 minutes.
Pressure Cooking the Pasta
No need to rinse out the pot before cooking the pasta and I leave the sear/sauté on high while I add the stock and pasta.
Add the shrimp stock or 2¼ cups of the liquid you are using to the inner pot and scrape along the bottom of the pot to make sure nothing is stuck that could trigger the water or burn notice.
Add in the pasta and the remaining 1 Tablespoon of jerk seasoning. Stir and put the pressure lid on.
Turn the valve to seal and set the pressure to high for 6 minutes. If your stock is not hot, decrease the pressure cook time to 4 minutes so you don't overcook the pasta. The hot stock will come to pressure much quicker than cold and the time to pressure is cook time.
When the time is up, let the pot natural release for 5 minutes then manually release the remaining pressure. This essentially means do nothing for 5 minutes and let the keep warm stay on and the timer count up to 5 minutes. Then move the valve to vent and release any pressure left in the pot.
Once the button has depressed, open the lid and stir. Don't freak out when you open the lid! The cooked pasta will look a little dark after pressure cooking. That's from the seasoning and the stock and that darker color equals flavor!
Add the peppers, onions and shrimp back into the pasta along with the shredded cheese.
Add in ½ cup of cream. Stir to melt the cheese and incorporate the cream. Add the rest of the cream if desired. I always add the whole cup, but that is a matter of preference.
Add in the chopped green onions and stir.
Plate up the servings and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!
Shrimp Rasta Pasta Recipe
- Pressure Cooker or skillet and pot for stove top version
Homemade Jerk Seasoning
- 1½ teaspoons fine grind sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspon ground thyme
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅕ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅙ teaspoon allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 2½ cups water *you will need more if making on the stove, see directions below
- shells from peeled shrimp
- 1 red bell pepper or 2 mini red peppers
- ½ onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 Tablespoon jerk seasoning blend
Shrimp Rasta Pasta
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound thawed, raw shrimp with shells on count 21-30 per pound
- 2 Tablespoons jerk seasoning divided in recipe
- 8 ounces Rotini Pasta
- 2¼ cups shrimp stock (directions below) or chicken broth/water
- 1 medium onions about 1 cup diced
- 1 red bell pepper about ¾-1 cup Or 4-6 mini red peppers
- 1 green bell pepper about 1 cup of pepper strips
- 1 yellow bell pepper about ¾-1 cup Or 4-6 mini yellow peppers
- 1½ cups Italian cheese blend about 6 ounces finely shredded
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 bunch green onions
- 1 bunch cilantro for garnish, optional
Jerk Seasoning Blend
- Combine all the spices in a small bowl and mix well. The yield will be 3 Tablespoons total.
Shrimp Stock Pressure Cooking Instructions
- Peel the thawed shrimp and put the shells into the inner pot of the Foodi or Instant Pot and the shrimp into another bowl. Put the shrimp in the refrigerator until you are ready for them. *They can stay out if you are making the recipe right away.
- Add 2½ cups water into the inner pot of the Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot. Smash the garlic with the side of a knife and add to the inner pot. I peel mine, but you don't have to. Add half of an onion, and 2 mini peppers cut in half or a red pepper in large chunks. Add 1 Tablespoon of jerk seasoning and stir.
- Put the pressure cooker lid on and turn the valve to seal. Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes and when the time is up, turn the valve to immediately release the pressure.
- Strain the stock using a fine sieve strainer and discard the shells, onions, and peppers. You should end up with 2¼ cups of stock. If you have less, add water until it is 2¼ cups total. Set the stock aside for when needed. You do not need to refrigerate the stock unless you are making it ahead of time. It is fine to sit out for a couple of hours.
Shrimp Stock Stovetop Instructions
- Add about 6 cups of water to medium size pot along with the shrimp shells, garlic, onions, peppers, and seasoning blend. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 30-60 minutes.
- Strain and reserve 2¼ cups of the stock for the recipe.
Shrimp Rasta Pasta
- While the stock is cooking, prep your vegetables and season the shrimp. You will want to peel and dice the onion into about ½" dice and cut the peppers into strips or if you are using the mini peppers you can simply cut them into rings. You will end up with ¾-1 cup of each vegetable, but less or more is perfectly fine.
Pressure Cooker Instructions
- Add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to the inner pot of the Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot and heat on high sear/sauté. When the oil is hot, add in the onions and peppers. Season with ½ Tablespoon of jerk seasoning.
- Sauté (stirring frequently) on high until the peppers are about 75% cooked to the texture you like. This will take anywhere from 5-10 minutes.
- Season the peeled shrimp with ½ Tablespoon of jerk seasoning and add to the pot. Sauté with the vegetables on high until the shrimp turn a light pink color and curl slightly (about 3-5 minutes). If you want to check the internal temperature, it should read 145℉/63℃.
- Remove the vegetables and shrimp and place into a bowl for use later. If you are making the pasta right away, you do not need to refrigerate the shrimp and vegetables.
- Add 2¼ cups of the shrimp stock (or you can use water or chicken broth) to the inner pot. No need to clean it after sautéing the vegetables, but scrape the bottom of the pot to release any vegetables or fond that may be stuck on the bottom.
- Add in the pasta and the remaining 1 Tablespoon of jerk seasoning blend.
- Stir and put the pressure lid on and turn the valve to seal. Pressure cook on high for 6 minutes and when the time is up allow the pot to naturally release the pressure for 5 minutes (this means do nothing) and then manually release any remaining pressure.
- While the pasta is cooking, chop the green onions and the cilantro.
- Remove the lid when the pin has dropped. Add in the shredded cheese and ½ cup heavy cream. Stir to allow the cheese to melt. Add the additional ½ cup heavy cream if desired. I like a really creamy sauce, so I always add the full cup, but that is completely up to you and your preference.
- Stir in the chopped green onions. Garnish each plate with about 1 Tablespoon of chopped cilantro. Enjoy!
Stove Top Directions
- Pour the shrimp stock into a stock pot and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Strain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the pasta liquid for later, and return to the pot.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a skillet. Sauté the vegetables on medium high until the vegetables are about 75% done to your liking. This will take 7-10 minutes.
- Season the peeled shrimp with ½ Tablespoon of jerk seasoning and add to the pot. Sauté with the vegetables on medium high until the shrimp turn a light pink color and curl slightly. This takes about 3-5 minutes. If you want to check the internal temperature, it should read 145℉/63℃.
- Once the pasta is cooked and strained, add the shrimp, vegetables, and 2 Tablespoons of the reserved pasta water to the cooked pasta and stir. Add the shredded cheese and cream. You can also add in some more of the pasta water if you need more liquid for the cream sauce.
- Stir in the chopped green onions. Garnish each plate with cilantro. Enjoy!
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
She published her first cookbook in the Fall of 2018 and is very interested in writing several more.
Louise is also the creator of an online Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooking Course with over 100 instructional step-by-step videos. People absolutely rave about the course and all the value they have received from it.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can. Get more Information about Louise & contact information
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Loved this! Looking forward to making it again soon!! Excellent recipe. Thank you Louise! You rock!
Ruth W. Thomas
This recipe is truly amazing. I tried it and it turned out very nice.
This turned out amazing!!! I had some lobster tail shells so I added those for the shrimp stalk and used whole wheat noodles instead of regular noodles. No time difference. This was really, really good. Great as a side dish or a main meal. I
Highly suggest making this.
This was delicious!!! What I did instead: only had Half & Half, used the Cajun spice instead. I used the whole 16 oz box of rotini after everything else done, so pasta to veg to shrimp was off, but still Delicious!!
Next time, I will try chicken and boxed stock to save a little time.
I am so glad you enjoyed it!