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Scouts honour, this Rasta pasta with shrimp recipe is life changing. Simple pasta dish inspired by the Caribbean and Italian flavours. Penne pasta tossed in creamy, cheesy and jerk seasoning. It is absolutely delicious, weeknight dinner just got better!

rasta pasta with shrimp in a cast iron enamel pan with a flat wooden ladle.

Jamaican – Italian food fusion

Rasta pasta is a dish we have come to love in my household, it is truly one of the best pasta recipe I have had in a long time, my kids could not get enough of it as well. Creamy pasta dish with the right amount of heat! Don’t worry it is not that hot to blow your head off, you can easily customise the amount of heat to taste.   Instant Pot Chicken and Rice

I am no way claiming ownership to the originality of this recipe. However, I feel it would be an injustice not to share my version of Rasta Shrimp pasta with you all. Let’s get to it and make this 30 minutes recipe together in easy steps.

a bowl of pasta with three jumbo shrimps and parmesan cheese.

What is Rasta pasta

Rasta pasta is a type of creamy pasta dish inspired by the Jamaican and Italian flavour. It is in no way associated with the Rastafarianism. Rastafarians are vegetarians and this dish is not, although it can be made so. Here are few facts about this pasta recipe.

  • It is colourful, thanks to the trio bell peppers; green, yellow and red which represent the Rastafari colours.
  • History had it that it was first served by Lorraine Washington in Negril, Jamaica and she served it with ackee. This dish has since evolved, now popular all over the world and now made with any protein of choice, it can be made vegan or vegetarian. If you are interested in more Jamaican food fusion then you will love the future of Jamaican fusion food article from the Eaters.
  • It is flavourful! I honestly can’t emphasis on the word flavourful. If you have used jerk seasoning before in recipes, then you will understand me well. This pasta dish is made with Caribbean flavours jerk chicken, all spice, scotch bonnet and scallions.
  • This is a creamy dish, similar to alfredo sauce only that, this is better.
  • It is popularly made with penne pasta but you can use any other pasta of choice like fusilli, rigatoni
a close shot of a colourful creamy pasta with shrimps and bell peppers.

What you will need

Penne pasta: sub for any other pasta of choice

Bell peppers: I used red, green and yellow bell peppers but you can any you have on hand.

Cheddar cheese: sub with any other melting cheese of choice

Parmesan cheese

Scallion also known as green onions or spring onions

Raw jumbo shrimp: you can also use fish, chicken or meat


Scotch bonnet: this is optional if you can’t handle the heat, sub with cayenne pepper or simply use black pepper to taste.

Good quality Jerk seasoning: this can be home-made or store bought, no judgement here.

Garlic cloves

Sweet paprika: substitute with smoked paprika

Allspice which is also known as pimento

Salt and pepper to taste

Chicken stock

Heavy cream

the ingredients to be used to cook rasta pasta.

How to make Rasta pasta

Prep the ingredients: Cut the bell peppers into strips, chop the onions, scotch bonnet and garlic and set aside

Clean and devein the shrimps if using then season with ½ tbsp of jerk seasoning, mix to combine and marinate for about 10 minutes or longer if time is not of the essence.

Boil the penne pasta: boil the pasta in salted water until aldente, reserve about 1 cup of pasta water drain pasta and set aside. In order to stop the pasta from clumping up, add about 1 tablespoon of oil and toss to combine. Alternatively, run the pasta under cold water to get rid of starch.

the process shot of how seasoned shrimps in a plate and a pot of pasta boiling over the stove.

Cook the shrimps: heat up olive oil on medium high heat, carefully add the shrimps to the hot pan and cook on each side for about 2 to 3 minutes each depending on the size of the shrimp. Do not overcook as you would be adding it back to the pasta later. Take it out of the pan and transfer unto a plate then set aside.

Make the creamy sauce: still using the same pan you sautéed the shrimps, add bell peppers and onions and sauté for about 1 to 2 minutes moving it around the pan so it doesn’t burn. Add scallions, jerk seasoning, salt and black pepper and cook for another minute. Deglaze the pan with the chicken stock. Add chopped garlic and cook for another minute or two.

Pour the double cream over the sauteed vegetables, add chopped scotch bonnet, smoked paprika, allspice and stir to combine. Stir in parmesan cheese and cheddar cheese into the creamy sauce until melted. Taste and adjust seasoning to preference.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir to combine, add some of the reserved pasta water if the sauce is too thick. Finally, return the cooked shrimps to the pasta and stir to combine. Take it off the heat and stir immediately. Serve with homemade garlic bread.

the process shot of how to make jerk shrimp pasta.


How to make this recipe vegetarian or vegan, simply substitute the heavy cream for coconut milk or cream of coconut. Instead of chicken, fish or shrimp, opt for vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, egg plants or any other veg of choice.

Use leftover cooked chicken or shrimps instead of raw, if using cooked chicken, add it to the creamy sauce so that it is infused with the jerk flavour. If using cooked shrimps or prawns, add it last to the pasta in order not to overcook it.

Own an instant pot? Then you are in for a treat as you can make this easy Rasta pasta recipe in your pressure cooker. I will be sharing the vegetarian version soon. Be on the lookout.

a plate of pasta with a fork.

How to store

You will be happy to know that Rasta pasta makes the best leftover, it tastes better the next day. What is not to love? Transfer to an airtight container and make sure it cools completely before storing in the fridge for up to 3 days.

To reheat: sprinkle a little bit of water on the pasta and reheat in the microwave for a few minutes or on the stove top.

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