This is the ultimate comfort food. Really. I was home taking another day off from work to recover from my slipped disc. Surely you don't expect me to be moping around the house wallowing in misery, do you? So I did what I love best - cook! I mean, I had to eat, right?
I was very attracted to this colorful pasta dish and the fact that it uses Cajun spices made it even more alluring to me. This time, I behaved myself and followed the recipe except for the wine part. I don't have any white wine in the house. And I used spaghetti instead of fettuccine and coriander instead of parsley.
When I opened this bottle of Cajun seasoning, I licked the protective foil for a taste. It was very spicy and salty. Yum! Another reason why I chose to cook this dish is because I had some red, green and yellow capsicum leftover from cooking Sunday Night Stew.
I was at first contemplating omitting butter and cream from the recipe as I am generally averse to these two ingredients except in cakes and bakes. I don't like creamy pastas as I find the smell of butter, cream and cheese too strong. However, I decided to take a leap of faith this time and used butter when sauteing the chicken and vegetables.
The smell of the Cajun spice coated chicken being browned in olive oil and butter was wonderful. And later, when I added cream to the sauce, I found the smell to be very appetizing. This made me think that my prior bad impression was probably due to less that fresh butter or/and cream being used in the food I ate at the restaurant.
After tossing the pasta in the sauce, I had a taste. Wow! I loved it! I did not have any parsley, so I sprinkled chopped coriander into the pasta. And it tasted even better. I went on an overdose of coriander as it is my favorite herb. My dad thinks that coriander smells like stink bugs. Does it?
|A forkful of heaven!|
I was very happy, in carbo induced delirium, as I tucked in into my big bowl of pasta. This is soooo......gooooood!!! Definitely a dish that I would repeat in the near future and one that would make its appearance at my next family gathering :)
|I love this with loads of coriander.|
Cajun Chicken Pasta
Recipe source : Ree Drummond
(My notes and adaptations in red)
- 3 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes (I used 8 strips chicken fillet)
- 3 teaspoons Cajun Spice Mix, more to taste (I used a lot more)
- 1 pound Fettucine (I used 250g spaghetti)
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 whole green bell pepper, seeded and sliced (I used half)
- 1 whole red bell pepper, seeded and sliced (I used half and another half of yellow pepper)
- 1/2 whole large red onion, sliced (I used one whole big onion)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (I used 4 big cloves)
- 4 whole Roma tomatoes, diced (I used 1 Roma tomato)
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth (I used chicken stock cube dissolved in 1 cup hot water)
- 1/2 cup white wine (I omitted)
- 1 cup heavy cream (I used 1/2 cup)
- Cayenne pepper to taste (I used chilli powder)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Salt to taste (I did not need salt)
- Chopped fresh parsley to taste (I used coriander)
1. Cook pasta to package directions. Drain when pasta is still al dente; do not overcook!
2. Sprinkle 1.5 teaspoons Cajun spice over chicken pieces. Toss around to coat.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over high heat.
4. Add half the chicken in a single layer; do not stir. Allow the 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. Repeat with remaining chicken. Remove chicken, leaving pan on high heat.
5. Add remaining olive oil and butter. When heated, add peppers, onions and garlic. Sprinkle on remaining Cajun spice, and add salt of needed. Cook over high heat for 1 minute, stirring gently and trying to get the vegetables as dark/black as possible. Add tomatoes and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Remove all vegetables from the pan.
6. With the pan over high heat, pour in the wine and chicken broth. Cook on high for 3 to 5 minutes, scrapping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Reduce heat to medium low and pour in cream, stirring/whisking constantly.
7. Cook sauce over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until cream starts to thicken the mixture.
8. Taste and add freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, and/or salt to taste. Sauce should be spicy.
9. Finally, add chicken and vegetables to sauce, until mixture is bubbly and hot. Add drained fettuccine and toss to combine.