RECIPE: One-Pot Creamy Jalapeño Shrimp Baked Pasta

More than half of the food the average Trinbagonian eats is imported. This should come as no surprise since our twin isle’s annual food import bill is approximately $6 billion. By purchasing local, you funnel money back into our community and support its growth and sustainability for future generations. Our weekly column “In Season” features a sweet and savoury recipe for one readily-available ingredient, so you can take advantage of the vibrant bounty from farmers’ markets, local farm stands, and your own yard.


Traditionally cultivated in the Mexican state, Veracruz, the jalapeño got its namesake from the capital of Veracruz, Xalapa (pronounced ha-la-pa, get it?). The small, green pepper is full of flavour as well as heat and can range from 3,500 Scoville units to 8,000. If you’re looking to avoid one of the hotter jalapeños then avoid the more mature, wrinkled peppers with brown scars on their skin— those marks have a positive correlation to the heat of the pepper. The beauty of the jalapeño is in its fruitiness. It’s not as dry or grassy tasting as a habanero pepper and as a result, can complement a wide variety of dishes. The following two recipes (pepper sauce, not included) utilise the jalapeño in a way that highlights its heat as well as its unique flavour profile.
Jalapeños quietly creep through this creamy, baked pasta to reveal its crisp, fruitiness and subtle but noticeable spiciness. Sweet sun-dried tomatoes and fresh spinach add textural difference and dimension of flavour. Grab a fork and indulge.


Yields: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


1 pound pasta, any shape
1 cup heavy or cooking cream
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 jalapeños, seeds removed and chopped
1⁄2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (or roast your own: Slice 6 tomatoes and bake at 300°F for 1 hour)
1 cup fresh spinach
1 egg
1⁄2 cup vegetable stock
1 cup grated cheese, plus extra for sprinkling on top
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil pasta according to package instructions; strain and set aside in a large bowl.
Chop shrimp into large bite-sized pieces.
Grease a large cake pan or baking dish and preheat oven to 350°F.
In the same pot as the pasta, add butter or olive oil and sauté garlic until golden. Add shrimp and toss until fully cooked, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the shrimp to the pasta.
In the same pot, add olive oil and toss the spinach, jalapeños, sundried tomatoes and heavy cream. Allow to simmer for 5 to 6 minutes on medium-low heat. The spinach should be wilted.
Turn off the heat and add the pasta and shrimp back to the pot. Add the grated cheese and mix until everything is nicely combined.
In a small bowl, whisk chicken stock and egg until well-combined. Add this to the pasta and mix again.
Pour the pasta mixture into a greased cake pan or baking dish. Sprinkle more cheese on top (optional).
Bake for 30 minutes or, until golden brown.
10 Slice and enjoy! This is a great meal to make ahead, cool, wrap and freeze. 
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