My mom is a loyal reader of this blog (hi, Mom!), but that doesn’t mean she’s a fan of every single recipe I post. She’s not much for seafood, and I don’t think the tofu and quinoa recipes really pique her interest, either. She was a big fan of my taco cupcakes, but beyond that, I’m not sure how much of what I post interests her.
That’s why I always get so excited when I make a recipe and think, my mom would love this. It’s like…seeing a rainbow or spotting a heads-up penny. It makes my whole day better!
Anyway, this pasta is right up her alley, because it contains her two favorite things: (1) pasta, and (2) HEAT. The recipe below calls for 1 tbsp of Cajun seasoning, which I think would give you a mild- to moderate-heat. I used closer to 2 tbsp of seasoning, but I’d probably tell my mom to use 3 or 4…
CAJUN JAMBALAYA PASTA (adapted from Sunflower Supper Club)
1 (13 oz) package kielbasa or smoked sausage, cut into half-moons
2 chicken breasts or 4-5 chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
about 2 tbsp Cajun seasoning, divided (or more to taste)
1 tsp olive oil (if needed)
2 tbsp butter
1 pound short pasta (I used half elbows, half shells – whatever you’ve got)
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
1 and 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
1. Cook pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat Dutch oven or large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add kielbasa and cook until browned, stirring often (5-6 minutes). Remove kielbasa to plate; set aside.
3. While kielbasa cooks, sprinkle chicken with 1-2 tsp Cajun seasoning. After removing kielbasa from stockpot, add chicken and cook over medium heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes (if there is not enough grease left over in the stock pot from the kielbasa, add 1 tsp olive oil before cooking the chicken). When chicken is done, remove to plate with kielbasa.
4. Turn heat down to medium and 2 tbsp butter to now-empty stockpot. Once butter has melted, add carrots and cook 2-3 minutes, until they soften slightly (you want to give the carrots a head start on the other veggies, since they take longer to cook). Add onions, celery, red pepper, and garlic, and cook another 3-4 minutes, until veggies are soft.
5. Add flour to pan with veggies and cook, stirring, for about a minute, until veggies are coated. Slowly add chicken broth and milk. Bring mixture to boiling, then reduce heat and let simmer 2-3 minutes, adding pasta, chicken and kielbasa back in. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese, Cajun seasoning, and salt to taste. Serve warm.
This was a big hit! Spicy and creamy but still full of lots of veggies so you don’t feel quite so bad. I also added some chopped zucchini and sundried tomatoes to mine — you can do whatever you like. But be warned — these quantities make a ton. This could easily feed 6-8.