Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Creamy Cajun Pasta

I didn't realize until a friend asked me about my blog that I haven't posted in almost a month. School has been crazy! Everything has been piling up and my blog has honestly slipped my mind. But I'm back! It's spring break and my batteries are slowly recharging. I plan to start posting more frequently again. The recipe for today is one that I have made several times and that I have started spotting on pintrest. Cajun Chicken Pasta comes from the popular Ree Drummond If you have not visited her site, your probably should. She has some amazing recipes on there and even has her own book now. Good stuff. This pasta is absolutely delicious if you like spicy, creamy pasta. It's got a cajun zing, veggies, and a creamy sauce to top of your pasta of choice.

Time: 30-40 minutes (depends on how fast you chop and slice things)
3 chicken breasts cut into cubes (I normally use 1 huge one for LSH and I and it makes plenty)
4 tsps cajun mix (use whatever you have or the recipe to follow)
1 lb pasta (Pioneer Woman uses fettuccine but I just use whatever long pasta we have.)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter (You know it's good when olive oil AND butter are involved.)
1 whole green bell pepper sliced
1 whole red bell pepper sliced
1/2 onion sliced (she used red but I always use yellow)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
Cayenne pepper

Go ahead and cook the pasta according to directions and let it hang out while you get everything else cooked.

Before you do anything else, make sure you have all your ingredients ready to go. I'm lazy and do not always prep my ingredients before I start cooking. You better do the right thing and prep for this one or else you will have some issues. Cube that chicken, slice those veggies, and have cups ready for you broth and cream. Also have a whisk available.

Toss the cubed chicken with 2 tsp Cajun seasoning.

Pour 1 Tbsp olive oil in a deep heavy skillet (preferably not non-stick) over medium high heat and introduce the oil to 1 Tbsp of butter. I'm not really sure why both are necessary, but it doesn't seem like something to be messed with. Once the oil and butter are well acquainted, throw in the chicken and watch it sizzle. Brown the chicken on all sides and remove it to a plate. The chicken does not get fully cooked in this step.

Leaving the pan hot, add in the other Tbsp of oil and butter and let them get reacquainted. Throw in the peppers, onions, and garlic. Careful with this step because stuff my sizzle and pop as it hits the pan! Sprinkle on the other 2 tsp of Cajun seasoning and cook over the high heat. The goal is to stir slowly and allow the veggies to blacken as much as possible. Once they are good and blackened, toss in the tomatoes and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Remove the veggies to the same plate or bowl as the chicken.

Still keeping the pan over high heat, pour in the wine and chicken broth. Scrape the bottom of the pan as the liquids heat up and get all those blackened goodies incorporated into the sauce. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium low and pour in the cream whisking fiercely. Cook the sauce until it starts to thicken. At this point, taste and decide if cayenne pepper, black pepper, or salt are needed. We like it spicy but it's up to you.

Once it has thickened a bit more, add the chicken and veggies to the sauce, including all the juiced from the plate/bowl. Stir over medium heat for a couple minutes until the sauce thickens even more and is bubbly.

When it has reached your desired consistency, toss in the pasta and mix it all up. Top with a bit of parsley and you are good to go! FYI, the longer this pasta sits, the thicker it will become.
Original recipe:

Cajun spice mixture (from TLC Cooking)
1/4 cup salt
2 Tbsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp paprika
1 1/2 Tbsp onion powder
2 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp dried cloves

Mix it all together! This makes a lot but it's a good spice mix to just have on hand. It keeps well in a air-tight container.

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