Cheese and Shrimp Pasta Bake

Cheese and Shrimp Pasta Bake

Cazuela de Pasta con Queso
8 servings
Pati Jinich
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: anaheim chiles, asadero cheese, chile de arbol, chiltepín chiles, green onions, mexican crema, Monterrey Jack cheese, Oaxaca cheese, pasta, pati’s mexican table, queso anejo, scallions, Shrimp, tomato paste, Tomatoes
Author:Pati Jinich
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Cheese and Shrimp Pasta Bake recipe from Pati’s Mexican Table Season 8, Episode 12 “Home Cooking Sinaloa Style"


  • 3 fresh Anaheim chiles
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 pounds ripe on the vine tomatoes, washed and quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste, divided, plus more to season shrimp
  • 1 6- ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon crushed dried chiltepín chiles, chile de árbol, or red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound short and small pasta, such as rigatoni or shells
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups Mexican crema
  • 1 cup grated asadero or quesadilla cheese, can also substitute with Monterey Jack or Muenster
  • 1 1/2 cup grated Oaxaca cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated añejo cheese or parmesan
  • 3 to 4 scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced, for garnish

To Prepare

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Place the Anaheim chiles on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Put under the broiler for about 10 minutes, flipping a couple times in between, until charred on all sides. Immediately transfer the charred chiles to a plastic bag and seal tightly to sweat them for at least 5 minutes. Take the chiles out of the bag, let cool slightly, then peel off the skin and remove the stems and seeds. Coarsely chop the chiles and set aside.
  • Heat an oven-proof heavy bottomed skillet or casserole over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil and heat until the oil is rippling. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until it is translucent and starts to brown at the edges.
  • While the onion is cooking, add the tomatoes to a blender. Pulse in the blender until the tomatoes are crushed but are still a little chunky. Set aside until ready to use.
  • Add the garlic and chopped Anaheim chiles to the pan with the onion, stir, and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook for another couple minutes until the garlic starts to brown. Add the tomato paste, stir it into the vegetables, and let it cook and season for another minute. Pour in the crushed tomatoes from the blender and stir making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to scrape up any browned bits. Season with the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and the crushed dried chiles. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened and is flavorful. Turn off the heat when ready.
  • Set a rack on the upper third of the oven and preheat to 450°F.
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions for al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Melt the butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. When melted, sizzling, and hot, add the shrimp in a couple batches and season with salt and pepper to taste. Saute a couple minutes until the shrimp are just cooked. Transfer the shrimp to a bowl or plate and repeat with the remaining shrimp. Chop half of the shrimp, leaving half whole to top the pasta.
  • Add the pasta to the sauce along with the chopped shrimp and the crema and toss to coat. Top with the remaining whole shrimp and cover with the grated asadero, Oaxaca, and añejo cheeses. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the top is bubbling and golden brown. Sprinkle the top with scallions.

32 comments on “Cheese and Shrimp Pasta Bake

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  1. WOW! My husband and I watched your episode making this dish. Looked so good we decided to make it. WOW! is best said!
    I immediately bought both of your cookbooks! I even ordered one for my sister too! Excited to try other dishes & recipes!! Thank you for sharing these with us!!

    1. Thanks so much for this very sweet message Margo, glad to read you got the cookbooks. As we speak, I am working on the new one; we hope that it will be ready in the next couple of months, yay 😉

  2. Made this recipe after watching the episode on PBS. We enjoyed it so much and will make it again. Only cheese I couldn’t find was anejo. Used Parmesan and don’t think it changed the flavor too much.

    1. Hey Vicky, so glad to hear you guys enjoyed this pasta bake. Parmesan is fine and next time you can also use queso fresco. Enjoy!

  3. Pati,
    Thank you for such a delicious pasta! My dad’s from Sinaloa, so I HAVE to try all season 8’s recipes. This has SO much flavor & the chiles, tomatoes & all the quesos balance eachother out. Would you pick asadero or quesadilla cheese? I couldnt pick, so I used jack🤷‍♀️. Mil gracias. I love your show & your techniques!

    1. Asadero and quesadilla are very similar Alma, you cannot go wrong with any of them. I would do Asadero the next time 😉 Thanks for tuning in!

    1. You can go ahead and use Poblanos Marikyn, following the same instructions to char, peel and chop. Good luck!

  4. I want to thank you so much for this recipe. I am not an accomplished cook. I saw your episode and it looked so good I wanted to give it a try. My family and I enjoyed it so much. I have much more confidence now and will be cooking much more. I certainly will be watching to get more recipes for the future. Thanks again.

    1. Awesome John! So glad to read you feel confident now to keep on cooking, go for it and let me know if you have any questions 😉

  5. I’ve made this dish twice now. My teenage sons (17 & 19) LOVE it! Thank you.
    P.S. I just got your cookbook too. Hoping to create memories with my family like my grandma did with mine growing up in LA.

  6. Pati,
    Love your series on Sinaloa. My wife is from Mazatlán and it is great to see so many familiar places, as well as some places we are excited try the next time we go.
    The shrimp pasta bake was wonderfuly delicious and I’m going to make it for my suegra the next time in Mazatlán!

  7. Hello
    I cannot wait to make this yummy pasta dish. I may need some help with some of the ingredients (taking my boyfriend to SW Detroit). We saw this episode and we both immediately became Stay safe

  8. Pati,
    Thank you so much for all your wonderful recipes. This was so yummy. I just love the way you cook!!!

  9. We too are in quarantine and have decided to make several of your recipes. First was your Birria recipe (which was delicious) and tonight was this dish! We didn’t have enough tomatoes so we improvised and made some green sauce with tomatillos! So delicious 🙂 Thank you for cooking such wonderful food.

    1. Thanks Jasmin, so glad to read you are spending these difficult times cooking more, stay strong! Making the sauce with tomatillos was a great idea, thanks for sharing 😉

  10. We are staying home now due to this virus and I have challenged myself to try new recipes a few times a week. We saw your show and how you made this dish so, of course I had to try. Tonight I made it and this was wonderful!! We go shrimping every spring so we had our own shrimp. I made according to your recipe except I add fresh cilantro!! We love this dish. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

    1. Thanks Nancy for giving this recipe a try, I can only imagine how delicious it came out with your own caught shrimp, yum!

  11. The kitchen is mine on the weekends and I have been wanting to make this dish for quite some tome. I’m thankful my wife and boys allow me to try new things This recipe was very tasty and fun to make. This recipe will easily serve more than eight. Next time I may add red bell peppers- Thanks Pati,

  12. We just made your cheese and shrimp pasta bake. It’s delicious! We enjoy your show very much and your recipes even more. Cheers from Chicago!

  13. PATI,
    I never miss your show I will not go out till I see it. Thank you for sharing your family with us we have watched them grow up. I made the cheese and shrimp pasta bake it is the best. Pati just keep on giving us good things to cook.
    May God bless you and your family.

  14. We love watching your show! Thank you for sharing your love of food, country & family w/us! I look forward to future cooking shows & excursions around the country.

  15. I just love you Pati! Thank your for sharing your gifts and family with us, and most especially the wonderful and varied cultures of Mexico, our great neighbor to the south.
    Happy Holidays to you and yours Pati. Tonight I am feeding my 18 year old son and his 4 friends the shrimp, Anaheim chili, pasta dish you prepared today. They are going to love it! Muchos gracias.