Michael's cousin got married last weekend, and we had a cajun chicken pasta at the rehearsal dinner that I can't stop thinking about (S/O to the bride and groom for getting married and Michael's aunt and uncle for funding said pasta). It was creamy and just the right level of spicy, and I knew I needed to make my own version at home.
The original version had andouille sausage, chicken, and shrimp, but I left the shrimp out to cut the cost a tad. Our local grocery store carries a great andouille chicken sausage, so I added that and made this an all chicken dish, but regular andouille sausage (traditionally made with pork) would obviously be great too. Cream cheese makes it creamy and cuts some of the spice, and it's so so good. Best of all, I made it a one-pot recipe, so there's minimal clean-up.
Here's what you'll need for this cajun chicken pasta.
- Onion ($0.70)
- Bell peppers ($2.84). Any colors work, but I prefer red, orange or yellow rather than green.
- Andouille pork or chicken sausage ($4.38). We used Gilbert's Andouille Chicken Sausage, but regular pork andouille sausage would be great too. Walmart doesn't seem to carry Gilbert's online, so I've linked Al Fresco Smoked Andouille Chicken Sausage.
- Chicken breasts or chicken breast tenderloins ($4.70). I use chicken breast tenderloins because they're easy to cut up into small pieces, but use whatever you have on hand/normally buy.
- Chicken broth ($1.33)
- Rigatoni ($0.82). Penne or other tubular pastas would also work well.
- Cream Cheese ($1.12)
- Typical pantry and fridge ingredients:
- Oil, Milk (we used 2%, but use whatever you have on hand), onion powder, garlic powder, ground cayenne, salt, black pepper, dried oregano, paprika, and crushed red pepper.
Excluding the typical pantry and fridge ingredients, the ingredients for this dish cost around $15.89, or about $2.65 per serving.
Here's how you make it.
First, cut your chicken breasts or chicken breast tenderloins into bite-sized chunks. The smaller the chunks, the fast they'll cook. Put them into a bowl and toss them with oil, onion powder, garlic powder, ground cayenne, salt, black pepper, dried oregano, paprika, and crushed red pepper until all the chicken is coated evenly.
Then add oil to a large pot or dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until the outsides of the chicken are no longer raw, about 5 minutes.
Then add the onions, bell peppers, and sausage to the pot and cook until the onions and peppers begin to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer the contents of the pot to a large bowl or plate and set aside. It's ok if things aren't fully cooked at this stage--they'll be added back in later.
Next, add the chicken broth, milk, and pasta to the pot. Allow it to come to a boil, and cook until the pasta is al dente, about 10-15 minutes.
Once the pasta is done, add the chicken and vegetables back to the pot, along with cream cheese, onion powder, garlic powder, ground cayenne, salt, black pepper, dried oregano, paprika, and crushed red pepper. Continue cooking until the cream cheese melts and the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. If the pasta is too soupy at that point, continue cooking for a few minutes and then remove it from the heat--it gets thicker as it cools down. If you'd like, garnish with parmesan and chives and serve!
If you like this, you should also try...
- Cheesy Turkey Meatballs with Peppers and Onions
- One-Pot Healthier Copycat Kraft Mac and Cheese
- Quick Pantry Spaghetti with Bacon and Tomatoes
- Creamy Spinach, Red Pepper, and Shrimp Pasta