Cajun Chicken Pasta
12 oz. dried penne pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1-1/4 lb boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium sweet onion, sliced thin
1 green bell pepper, julienned
1 red bell pepper, julienned
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, quartered
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 14.5-oz can petite diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (pre-made or you can make your own, see below)
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta for 9 minutes until just al dente. Drain; set aside.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to a plate and set aside. Add onions and bell peppers to the pan and saute until just soft, 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute until they have released their moisture, about another 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Add tomatoes, Cajun seasoning, and salt and stir to combine.
Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, add the chicken back to the pan along with any accumulated juices, and let simmer another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in half and half and parsley.
Stir in cooked pasta and serve immediately.
I have been wanting to nail down a recipe for this dish for years, but for some reason, it always eluded me. The sauce would end up too thin and watery and bland and I just couldn’t get the right balance of ingredients and flavors to come together as a whole – until now. This is IT. Twice tested and I nailed it: spicy, creamy, savory, cohesive. This is the perfect iteration. *Pats self on back*
To make your own Cajun seasoning, mix together:
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- 5 tablespoons paprika (I use half hot, half sweet)
- 3 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
This makes enough for about eight recipes, so I make it in a big batch like this and store it in a glass jar or airtight container for future use.