Cajun Chicken Pasta with Sausage

Cajun Chicken Pasta - Featured Photo

Spiciness is life. At least it is in our house. If it ain’t spicy, something ain’t right. That being said, you can quickly understand how a Cajun Style anything is easily devoured. This Cajun Chicken Pasta is no exception. With a Cajun Seasoning put together from scratch to cajun andouille sausage, the one thing this dish does not lack is flavor. ♥

Cajun Chicken

Prepping the chicken breasts is very important. The last thing you want is a flavorful dish with dry chicken. Brining is my jam. I love to brine my birds. For two chicken breasts (about 1 lb), I keep it simple. Water and salt is all that is needed. The chicken will be fully coated with Cajun Seasoning so a fancy bring wouldn’t do much for the flavor in the end result. 

Cajun Chicken Pasta - Chicken Brining in Bowl

Overnight brining is my go-to time limit whenever I want to eat a juicy chicken. With the correct water to salt ratio, over-salting shouldn’t be an issue. For very cup of water, add 1 tsp of salt.  Don’t go brining for a week now, I can’t vouch for that. Once the chicken has brined overnight, give it a quick rinse, lay out, pat dry with a paper towel and cut into bite size thin strips. 

Evenly drizzle all the strips with canola oil and coat with all but 1 tsp of Cajun Seasoning. Save that teaspoon to season the entire pasta dish toward the end. Be sure to coat both sides and pat the spices into the meat so it absorbs as much flavors as possible. You can do this right before you make your pasta or you could leave the chicken breasts with the spices to marinate for a few hours. The choice is yours. 

Cajun Seasoning

All this talk about Cajun Seasoning, so what does it consist of exactly? This is my go-to mix that I combine with common pantry spices. Just mix it all together. 

  • ½ tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper, finely ground
  • ½ tsp Onion Power
  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne
  • ½ tsp Thyme, dry
  • ½ tsp Oregano, dry
Cajun Chicken Pasta - Spices (not mixed)
Cajun Chicken Pasta - Spices Mixed

Normally I create a large batch of this seasoning, jar it, and use it for other dishes. Check out my Cajun Baked Tilapia Tacos and Cajun Shrimp Tacos with Sriracha Slaw

Pasta, Pasta, Oh yeah

There isn’t much to say about the pasta. Any variety of pasta works for this dish, whether it a specific dietary preference or a different shape. Penne is what I will be using, but linguini, spaghetti, rotini all work. You can opt to chose whole grain, wheat or gluten free. Barillas gluten free pasta products are great. It taste just like the O.G pasta! Just like the box says 🙂  

Bring It All Together

Once all the mise-en-place is ready, it’s time to get started. 

  1. Heat canola oil in a deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken in single layers until golden and no longer pink inside. Do not over-crowd or over-lap the strips to ensure even cooking. You may have to cook in multiple batches. Remove from the pan, plate and keep warm. 

2. Heat a bit more canola oil in the same pan at medium-high heat. Add the sliced sausage and cook until each side is dark golden but not burnt. At about half way cooked, add the red bell peppers and cook until they color has slightly brightened but still crispy. Tender-crisp is what we are going for here. 

Don’t worry if you are seeing some brown bites on the bottom of the pan, you will scrap it up when you add the canned tomatoes. 

3. Dump in the canned tomatoes (with their liquid) and reserved tsp of Cajun Seasoning. Bring it to a low simmer to combine the flavors into the tomatoes. Continue to cook until the raw flavor of the tomato cooks out, this should only take a few minutes. As the tomato cooks, use a wooden spoon to scrap up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. 

Cajun Chicken Pasta - Sausage, Bell Pepper, Tomatoes

4. Return the cooked chicken and pasta back into the pan. Mix to evenly distribute all the components with the pasta. 

Add in the mozzarella cheese, allow to lightly melt, and give one last stir to combine. 

Voila! ♥ This one-pot pasta meal is light, spicy and delicious! 

Cajun Chicken Pasta - Completed In Pot

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Cajun Chicken Pasta with Sausage

Looking for a light spicy pasta to spice up your life and dinner? Try this non-creamy, Cajun style chicken penne. Light but full of flavor!
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Dinner, Entree, Lunch, Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine: American, Fusion, Italian
Keyword: Cajun, Chicken, pasta, penne
Servings: 6 people
Author: Sharon Guerrero-Perez

Ingredients

Brine the Chicken

  • 1 lb Chicken Breasts boneless, skinless
  • 2 cups Water, tap
  • 2 tsp Kosher Salt

Cajun Seasoning

  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper finely ground
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Power
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp Thyme dry
  • 1 tsp Oregano dry

The Following Day

  • 8 oz Penne Pasta dry
  • 3 tbsp Canola Oil
  • 8 oz Cajun Andouille Sausage sliced diagnolly
  • 4 oz Red Bell Pepper thin sliced
  • 29 oz Hunt's Fire Roasted Canned Tomatoes with liquid (2, 14.5 oz cans)
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chili Flakes
  • 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese shredded

Instructions

Brine the Chicken

  • Combine the chicken, water and salt in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and brine in the refrigerator overnight.

Cajun Seasoning

  • Combine all the spices in a bowl. Store in an air tight container until the following day.

The Following Day

  • Cook the pasta according to the package until al dente. Drain, shock with cold water, and mix in 1 tbsp of butter to prevent sticking. Set aside.
  • Remove the chicken from the brine and give it a quick rinse. Lay out on a flat surface and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into thin bite size strips.
  • Evenly drizzle a thin layer of canola oil over the chicken strips. Coat with the saved Cajun Seasoning (reserving 1 tsp to season the dish toward the end).
  • Heat 2 tbsp of canola oil in a deep saute pan over medium-high heat.
  • Cook the chicken strips in single layers until golden and no longer pink. Remove to a plate and keep warm.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of canola oil in the same deep saute pan.
  • Add the andouille sausage and cook until both sides are crispy or golden, but not burnt. At about 1/2 way cooked, add the red bell pepper and cook, stirring occassionally, until the pepper are tender crisp.
  • Add the canned tomato and the 1 tsp of reserved cajun seasoning. Mix well and let the flavors marry for a few minutes. Scrap up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan when you were cooking the chicken and sausage.
  • Add the pasta and chicken back into the pot and mix until well combined.
  • Add the mozzarella cheese and allow it to lighly melt before mixing together.

Notes

Water and Salt Chicken Brine
  • For every 1 cup of water, add 1 tsp of kosher salt
Prep Time
  • Prep time will include the cooking of the pasta - the pasta cooking and the remaining mise-en-place will be created at the same time (while the pasta cooks)
  • Prep time also includes removing the chicken from the brine, rinsing, cutting and seasoning
    • It will NOT include the brining process (that is to be done the day prior if you chose to brine - you can opt out of this step)
Cook Time
  • Cook time does NOT include cooking the pasta; Cook time is once all mise-en-place is ready
Cajun Chicken Breast - Second End Result

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