Cajun Shrimp & Chicken Carbonara

5/4/2021 – We made this based on a copycat recipe for the popular dish at Olive Garden. Many things are different from that copycat version as this is a Cajun version while that was more of an Italian version. What we made was very rich and much enjoyed. This made 6 servings…lotsa leftovers!!!


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces and salted to dry brine for a couple of hours
  • 5-6 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
  • Creole seasoning by Kit Whol
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • Red Pepper flakes from cayenne peppers grown in our garden
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • pasta boiled in shrimp broth made with the shells and heads. This cook used Spaghetti although linguine was recommended.
  • 6 slices smoked bacon, cut into 1/4″ wide pieces
  • 8 large green onions from our garden [recommended alternate was “1 onion, diced”]
  • 1-½ cups half and half
  • 1-½ cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 jumbo egg yolks
  • ¼ cup semi-dry Chardonnay


Prep Tasks

  1. Shell, head, and devein the shrimp. SIMMER covered the shells and heads for no more than 5 minutes for the best shrimp flavor, Then let them cool while preparing everything else. See Cooks Illustrated test kitchen findings.
  2. Skin and debone the chicken thighs. Cut them into bite-size pieces and salt them lightly to dry brine.
  3. Mince the garlic and chop the green onions
  4. Separate the egg yolks.
  5. Measure the Half & Half and let warm for maybe 30 minutes.
  6. Chop the bacon into ½” long by the normal width pieces.


  1. Add a 2-count pour of olive oil and salt to the shrimp broth and bring to a boil. Add the dry pasta. Cook pasta to al dente. Drain, add 2-3 Tbsp of butter, mixing it in with your hands, then cover until ready to serve.
  2. Heat a 3-count pour of olive oil in the 12″ Chalphalon pan with the glass lid over medium-high heat. Cook and stir chicken with 1 heaping tablespoon of garlic, 3-4 shakes of Creole seasoning, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes until cooked lightly. Transfer chicken to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add enough olive oil and 3 heaping tablespoons of garlic. Add shrimp and more Creole Seasoning. Saute shrimp until pink on the outside. Add to the bowl with the chicken.
  4. Add bacon to the pan; cook until just crispy, not crunchy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Saute onion in the bacon grease lightly so still a bit crunchy.
  5. Drizzle wine into the pan with the onions to deglaze it. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Cook until wine is mostly evaporated. [Next time do not evaporate as much liquid]
  6. While the onion is sauteing, mix half-n-half, Parmesan cheese, egg yolks, salt, pepper, and Creole Seasoning together in a bowl.
  7. Add the creamy egg cheese mixture. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce begins to thicken but not too a wine-butter-cheese-cream sauce.
  8. Add the chicken and shrimp; mix to coat. Serve on top of pasta.

Next Time to Make it Even Better

  • Use more garlic.
  • Add sun-dried tomatoes in step 3 or 4.
  • Add more wine so the sauce is not so thick. Perhaps not cooking it down so much would achieve the same goal.
  • Add more red pepper flakes each time with the Creole seasoning to give it a bit more kick.
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