Thursday, May 12, 2011

Cajun Pastalaya - Pasta Jambalaya

The classic flavors of a chicken and sausage jambalaya but in a quick and easy skillet pasta dinner.
The classic flavors of a chicken and sausage jambalaya but in a quick and easy skillet pasta dinner.

Cajun Pastalaya

Pastalaya is another one of those dishes that gets some folks kinda cranked up. The purists have a fit over anybody calling a dish that is not rice based, anything remotely related to jambalaya. I've even had a gal go into a full out rant about calling this dish "Cajun." For the record, it's referred to that way, not because of the use of Cajun seasoning as she ranted about, but because one, it's jambalaya, but primarily due to it's one pot simplicity, a common element of Cajun cooking. Most importantly, I didn't "invent" the dish, somebody else did long ago, and everybody makes it differently. This is simply my version of it.

Pastalaya is simply taking the basic combination of the flavors of a typical jambalaya, but in a pasta dish instead of a rice dish. I say just relax and go ahead and enjoy it! I like to use the shell pasta - not the tiny shells, but the average, medium sized shells, but most any medium sized short-cut pasta works too. A lot of folks like using bowties. If you prefer this a little more mild than spicy, simply sub in a good smoked sausage for the andouille.

Pretty snappy to throw together too. When I decided to make this, I didn't have a chicken breast thawed, or any pre-cooked chicken in the freezer, but that's the beauty of this dish. While it's excellent with the chicken, it's good with just about any protein, including pork, shrimp and even crawfish. The great thing about smoked sausage is it can be defrosted in a snap in the microwave. I do recommend adding the chicken. Simply heat your choice of fat in a large covered pot or skillet and add the chicken, and brown well on both sides. Remove and set aside.

Slice the smoked sausage in half lengthwise, then chop, adding to the skillet and cooking until browned. Stir in the onion and green pepper and cook for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Stir in the tomatoes and water.


Meanwhile, cut the chicken breast into cubes and return to the pot, adding in the dry pasta, thyme, basil, parsley and Cajun seasoning. Return to boil; reduce to medium low, cover and cook for about 25 minutes or until pasta is tender and most of liquid has been absorbed.


Stir in the butter and green onion. Taste, add salt and pepper, adjust seasonings as needed and serve with hot French bread to soak up the juices.


A delicious, easy meal, suitable for any weeknight! Check out more of my pasta dishes on Pinterest!



If you make this or any of my recipes, I'd love to see your results! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #DeepSouthDish on social media or tag me @deepsouthdish on Instagram!



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Recipe: Cajun Pastalaya

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 30 min |Cook time: 25 minYield: About 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat, canola,
  •     olive oil, or a combination
  • 1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 pound andouille, Conecuh or other
  •    spicy smoked sausage
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped Vidalia or other onion
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup chicken stock/broth or water
  • 2 cups dry medium sized short cut pasta
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama) {affil link}, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Instructions

Heat fat in a large covered pot or skillet and add the chicken, and brown well on both sides. Remove and set aside. Slice the sausage in half lengthwise, then chop, adding to the skillet and cook until browned. Stir in the onion and green pepper and cook for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Add the garlic and cook another minute.

Stir in the diced tomatoes and water; bring up to a boil. Meanwhile, cut the chicken breast into cubes and return to the pot, adding in the dry pasta, thyme, basil, parsley, and Cajun seasoning, return to boil; reduce to medium low, cover and cook for about 25-30 minutes or until pasta is tender and most of liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the butter and green onion; remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes covered. Taste, add salt and pepper, adjust seasonings as needed and serve with hot French bread to soak up the juices.

Variation: Mix and match the protein by using chopped cooked pork or cooked crawfish tails. Can also use peeled and deveined raw shrimp, adding in the last 5 minutes of cooking time. For a creamy version, omit tomatoes and substitute a total of 3 cups chicken stock/broth; stir in a can of cream of mushroom or chicken soup, undiluted with the stock or water. Omit butter.

Cook's Notes: I use the medium sized shell pasta, but you may substitute any medium sized short cut pasta such as rotini, elbow macaroni, penne, farfalle (bow ties) or ziti. You may also use a spaghetti type noodle. For even more kick, substitute a can of drained Rotel diced tomatoes for one of the canned tomatoes, increasing water if needed. May also used already cooked chicken, skipping the browning.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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Posted by on May 12, 2011

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