Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cajun Chicken Pasta

I have a coworker who is also into cooking and always comes to me for ideas when she's cooking dinner for friends. If I can't come up with something on my own blog, I almost always head over to Annie's Eats. Annie is an amazing blogger and just a fantastic all around inspiration. When my co-worker tried Annie's Cajun Chicken Pasta, she raved about it and brought in some leftovers for me to taste. Nothing but yum! This is a recipe that I wouldn't make on a regular basis, and not in the midst of a heavy race week due to the heavy fat content, but this made a really great special occasion dinner (celebrating the first part of the season being done, yay!). This is a restaurant quality meal. I made mine a little too spicy, so I will cut back on the Cajun /Creole Seasoning next time, and the Tony's Creole Seasoning that I used was really salty, so I cut way back on the salt called for in the recipe. I also had some Spinach that I was looking to use up from my Plow to Porch delivery, so I tossed that in and I don't think I would have liked this as much without it. This is probably going to be my favorite new recipe of the year!

Cajun Chicken Pasta (from Annie's Eats)

For the chicken:
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper
Cajun seasoning

For the pasta:
8 oz. bowtie pasta (I used whole wheat corkscrews)
Kosher salt

For the sauce:
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
3/4 tsp. kosher salt (I used 1/4 tsp)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 bag baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. water
3 scallions, chopped
To cook the chicken, heat a small amount of butter or olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and a generous sprinkle of Cajun seasoning. Add to the skillet and cook until lightly browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the cooked pasta and set aside.
Meanwhile, return the skillet to medium heat and heat the butter and olive oil until the butter has melted. Add the bell peppers and onion to the pan. Mix in the salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 6-8 minutes. Add the half-and-half and heavy cream to the pan and bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water, and add to the skillet once the cream mixture has started to bubble. Allow to cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and stir into sauce until wilted.
Add the cooked pasta and chicken pieces to the pan. Stir well to combine and cook at medium-low heat just until the chicken is warmed through. Adjust the amount of Cajun seasoning if necessary to suit your tastes. Stir in the scallions. Serve immediately and top with additional Cajun seasoning, if desired. Makes 4 servings


  1. There used to be a restaurant where I shays ordered cajun chicken pasta. And of course, now I can't remember what that restaurant was!

  2. Was it Cheesecake Factory? We don't have one in Santa Barbara (we have very few chains here, as you know), but it sounds like that might have been the inspiration for this dish. We don't even go there when we're out of town because my husband always sees Cheesecake Factory on the "don't eat this it's fattening" lists on the internet. That's what I get for marrying a cyclist!