What’s for Dinner: Cajun Chicken Pasta
posting some [old] favorite recipes that I’m mentioned in the past on this blog, and I’m surprised I haven’t posted this already on here as it is one of the favorites. Everyone I’ve made this for loves it, and it’s one of the recipes I’m most often asked for.
- 12 ounces of pasta [I prefer penne for this one]
- 1-2 tablespoons of [unsalted] butter
- 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
- Half-and-half [amount will depend on how creamy you want it. I use a 32 fluid ounce size container, but you can start with about 1 and a half cups if you’d like]
- 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into tiny bite size pieces
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning (to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, to taste)
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 firm-ripe [roma] tomatoes, cored and diced
- [1 cup] of mozzarella cheese, shredded or grated
How I make it:
- First thing — put the water to boil for the pasta as that will take the longest. Put a generous amount of salt in the water right at the start as this is the only chance to salt the pasta. For pasta preference, penne works best on my opinion because it absorbs the sauce the best.
- Then in a deep pan, melt about 1-2 tablespoon of butter and then add about the same amount of flour. Mix well so it becomes like a rue (light brown, thick liquid consistency)… There should be no lumps and the flour taste should be gone. Make sure you do this on very low temperature so it doesn’t burn.
- Then to this add half and half (I use a 32 fluid ounce size container). Add Cajun seasoning, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. On low heat, let it thicken. Then add Parmesan cheese.
- In a separate pan, add chicken pieces that are cut to small pieces (like if you were making popcorn chicken). Add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, Cajun seasoning, and a little bit of oil. Let it cook on medium heat. When it’s almost done, lower the heat and add tomatoes that are diced into small pieces (like on top of nachos). Also add jalapeño peppers if you want extra spice (cut into very small pieces, with the seeds thrown out — otherwise its too spicy).
- When the chicken and pasta is cooked through, add the pasta and chicken into the sauce pot and mix it well. Add shredded mozzarella cheese and more Parmesan cheese if you want and mix it well.
- To garnish — if I am serving at a party — what I do is after mixing, I add a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese on top [or grated parmesan like in the picture] and then sprinkle Cajun seasoning on top.
It’s best when eaten right away!
P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes.