Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cajun Night

Although I doubt many Cajuns eat a lot of pasta. At any rate, this recipe is called Cajun Chicken Pasta. I found it from the Pioneer Woman's website. I don't even remember what I was looking for on her site, but I stumbled across this. I never say "no" to a good pasta dinner, so I made this.

I don't know if there was something in the water last weekend, but I swear, my cooking kind of sucked. My cornbread topping didn't turn out (see last post) and when I was making this recipe, my cream sauce never thickened. Oh well. You can't win 'em all!

I have never made a recipe from the Pioneer Woman before, but I plan on making more! This pasta was really good. Even better? Eat it warmed up the next day. Both my husband and I agreed that it was better the next day.

I did a couple of things differently from the recipe. First, I didn't cook the chicken in batches. I have a huge pan so I decided to just cook it all at once. It was much easier for me this way. Also, I didn't have white wine, so I just used a bit extra of the chicken broth. I also made my own Cajun seasoning. It was very simple. Salt, pepper, paprika and some other seasonings. I used more than what the recipe called for since we love things spicy in our house. I am glad I used more too. There was the perfect amount of heat on the veggies and chicken.

This recipe was more time consuming than I am used to these days. That is not to say that it would be time consuming for you. After all, I purposely look for recipes that take less than 30 minutes because I am usually watching the wee one. I need simple. This was simple for sure. It only took a little bit longer than my regulation 30 minutes. It was very much worth it though!

I love pasta so I am glad I found something that had protein to make the husband happy, tomatoes and pasta to make me happy, and spicy to make both of us happy!

Cajun Chicken Pasta

3 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
3 teaspoons Cajun spice mix
1 pound fettuccine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 whole green pepper, seeded and sliced
1 whole red pepper, seeded and sliced
1/2 large red onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 whole Roma tomatoes, diced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup heavy cream
cayenne pepper to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
chopped fresh parsley, to taste

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta when it's al dente. Do not overcook!

2. Sprinkle 1.5 teaspoons of the Cajun spice mix over the chicken. Toss around to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over high heat. Add the chicken in a single layer; do not stir. Allow chicken to brown on one side, about 1 minute. Flip to the other side and cook an additional minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean plate.

3. Add remaining butter and olive oil. When heated, add peppers, onions, and garlic. Sprinkle on remaining Cajun spice, and add salt if needed. Cook over very high heat for 1 minute, stirring gently and trying to get the vegetables as dark/black as possible. Add tomatoes and cook an additional 30 seconds. Remove all vegetables from pan.

4. With the pan over high heat, pour in the wine and chicken broth. Cook on high 3-5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Reduce heat to medium-low and pour in the cream, stirring/whisking constantly. Cook sauce over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until cream starts to thicken the mixture. Taste and add freshly ground pepper and cayenne pepper and/or salt and pepper to taste. Sauce should be spicy!

5. Finally, add the chicken and vegetables to the sauce, making sure to include all the juices that have drained onto the plate. Stir and cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture is bubbly and hot. Add the drained pasta and toss to combine. Top with the parsley.