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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Spicy Cajun Chicken Pasta

When I first saw this recipe from the Pioneer Woman, it reminded me of a dish I once had at TGIFridays in Paris of all places. I know, I know... I was in Paris and I ate dinner at a TGIFridays. In my own defense, I was a sophomore in college on a study abroad program and I had been in Spain for about a month and just wanted some "American" food. I now know better. Don't worry, I've become much more of a food snob since then.

It was also next door to our hotel, convenience was definitely a factor. Anyway, they had a spicy chicken fettuccine on their menu which I haven't ever seen on the menu again but it was really good, except it included fried chicken. I've made a couple other versions of this in the past this one was a little different. Of course, I can't really follow a recipe, so I made a few adjustments, but this was really good. A note on the dried herbs, if you have fresh, use them and adjust accordingly. I didn't want to go to the store and its winter here and my garden is under a few inches of snow so fresh wasn't available.

Spicy Cajun Chicken Pasta
Recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approximately 1.5 lbs)
1 T olive oil
1 T butter
1 tsp Lawry's seasoning salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp dried mustard
2 red bell peppers, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
2 1/4 cups chicken broth (I try to only use low-sodium to control the sodium content)
1/2 cup white wine
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 lb fettuccine or spaghetti (I used a mix of both and they were whole wheat - don't forget to adjust cooking times if you use a mix of pastas, the fettuccine takes an extra minute or 2 so add it earlier)

Heat a large stockpot with water for the pasta. When boiling, add salt and drop pasta. Cook to al dente, drain and set aside.

Mix together seasoning salt, cumin, chili powder, and mustard in a small bowl. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add half the oil and butter. Cut the chicken into bite-size chunks and season with about half of the spice mixture. Add chicken to the pan, do it in two batches if necessary rather than over-crowding the pan, and cook about 2 minutes and flip. Don't try to move the chicken too early, if it doesn't move easily, its not ready yet. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes on the second side and remove to a plate. Cover with foil.

Add remaining oil and butter to the pan, season peppers and onions with remaining spice mixture and add to pan with minced garlic. Cook about 3 minutes, add tomatoes and cook an additional 1-2 minutes until peppers are slightly softened and onions are translucent. Remove to a plate.

With pan still on high heat, add wine and chicken stock and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan for 3-5 minutes until reduced. Reduce heat to low and slowly stir in heavy cream, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken. Add cayenne pepper and black pepper, tasting to check spice and adjust accordingly to suit your preferences. Return chicken and vegetables to pan and add thyme and parsley. Simmer for a couple minutes until everything is hot and then add cooked pasta. Toss to coat pasta and serve. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.


  1. This looks too delicious, I'll definitely be trying it soon!

  2. Delicious....I seasoned chicken with adobo, Sazon, garlic and cayenne pepper....didn't add wine just more chicken broth...very very good!!!!


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