Looking for a delicious, comforting meal that’s easy to make and bursting with flavor? Look no further than creamy Cajun chicken pasta with smoked sausage. This mouthwatering dish combines tender chicken, smoky sausage, and a creamy, spicy sauce, all served over a bed of your favorite pasta. It’s a perfect meal for busy weeknights or for impressing your guests at your next dinner party.
As you begin to create this tasty masterpiece, you’ll be amazed at how simple it is to bring these incredible flavors together. The key to this recipe lies in its decadent, alfredo-like sauce, which is infused with a unique blend of Cajun spices. The smoked sausage and chicken not only add a savory depth to the dish but also marry well with the rich, velvety sauce. The finished result is a truly special meal that will leave you eager to share it with your friends and family.
Remember, when making this creamy Cajun chicken pasta with smoked sausage, be sure to use good-quality ingredients and adjust the spice level to suit your taste. By following these simple guidelines, you’re guaranteed to create a memorable, crowd-pleasing dish that everyone will love.
Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta Ingredients
To make a delicious and flavorful Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta with Smoked Sausage, you will need the following ingredients:
- Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are the star of this dish. You will need to season and cook them for maximum flavor.
- Pasta: Penne pasta is recommended for this dish since its ridged surface holds the sauce well, but feel free to use your preferred pasta.
- Cajun seasoning: This blend of spices, including paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper, brings the signature spicy taste to the dish.
- Smoked sausage: Andouille sausage is traditional in Cajun dishes and adds a smoky, rich flavor to the pasta.
- Vegetables: Bell peppers (we suggest using a mix of red, green, and yellow for color), red onion, and garlic are essential for enhancing the dish’s savory flavors. You can also add mushrooms, broccoli, or other vegetables of your choice.
- Tomatoes: Diced tomatoes are used to create a chunky, tomato-based sauce. Having additional diced tomatoes will contribute texture to the dish.
Your sauce will be composed of the following ingredients:
- Butter and olive oil: These are the fats that you will use to sauté the vegetables and cook the chicken.
- Chicken broth: This is added to provide a liquid base for your sauce and deepen the flavor.
- Heavy cream: It creates a rich and creamy texture, which is essential for achieving the perfect Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta.
- Cheese: A combination of grated Parmesan cheese and shredded Pepper Jack or another comparable cheese will add a beautiful depth and creaminess.
- Parsley: Fresh, chopped parsley adds a pop of color and a touch of brightness to the dish.
- Salt and pepper: These are essential for adjusting and balancing the flavors to your taste. Remember that Cajun seasoning and smoked sausage may contain sodium, so be mindful of the salt content.
Serve the Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta with a side of crusty bread or a light, green salad for a complete and satisfying meal. Enjoy the bold flavors of this dish as you delve into each bite of spicy, smoky, and creamy goodness!
Instructions for Preparing and Cooking
To create this delicious and creamy Cajun chicken pasta with smoked sausage, follow these simple steps:
- Prep Time: To kick off your meal, make sure you set aside about 10 minutes for prep time.
- Cook Your Pasta: Choose either linguine or rigatoni, then cook the pasta until al dente according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Prepare Your Chicken and Sausage: Take boneless, skinless chicken breasts and slice them into bite-sized pieces. Next, slice your smoked sausage, like chorizo, into thin rounds.
- Cook the Chicken and Sausage: In a large skillet, melt a tablespoon of unsalted butter over medium-high heat. Add in the chicken and sausage slices, cooking until browned and the chicken is cooked through.
- Season the Meat: While your meat is cooking, sprinkle it with a mixture of Cajun seasoning, a pinch of cayenne, and black pepper according to your taste preference.
- Quick and Easy Veggies: In the same skillet, sauté desired veggies, such as bell peppers and onions, for a few minutes until they are tender.
- Create the Creamy Sauce: In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of flour and 1.5 cups of milk until well combined. Pour the milk mixture into the skillet, stirring constantly as it thickens.
- Combine Pasta and Sauce: Add your cooked pasta to the skillet, tossing it in the creamy sauce to ensure it’s evenly coated. Continue to cook for just a few minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
- Cook Time and Total Time: Expect the cook time to be around 20 minutes. With your 10-minute prep time, the total time from start to finish should be roughly 30 minutes.
With these confident and knowledgeable steps, you’ll have a hearty and delicious dinner ready for your family in no time! Enjoy your creamy Cajun chicken pasta with smoked sausage.
Homemade Cajun Seasoning Recipe
Making your own homemade Cajun seasoning for the creamy Cajun chicken pasta with smoked sausage can elevate the flavors of the dish. It’s not only easy to make but also ensures freshness and allows you to control the spice level according to your taste.
To make the seasoning, gather the following ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and mix them thoroughly. You may adjust the amount of cayenne pepper depending on how spicy you want the Cajun seasoning to be. Once the ingredients are well-blended, transfer the mixture to an airtight container. Make sure to store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Using homemade Cajun seasoning not only saves you the hassle of running to the store but also lets you customize the blend to suit your preferences. The earthy flavors of paprika, the heat from the cayenne pepper, and the aromatic herbs are key elements in achieving that authentic Cajun taste for your creamy Cajun chicken pasta with smoked sausage. Enjoy experimenting with your homemade seasoning and savor the difference it makes in your dishes.
Side Dishes and Serving Suggestions
When it comes to complementing your creamy Cajun chicken pasta with smoked sausage, there are a variety of side dishes that can enhance the flavors and textures of your meal. Here are some ideas to consider when deciding on what to serve alongside your rich and spicy pasta.
Salad: A crisp, fresh salad can provide a refreshing contrast to the creamy richness of the pasta. You might want to choose lighter dressings, such as a simple vinaigrette, to let the flavors of the salad ingredients shine through.
Veggies: Roasted or steamed vegetables can add a hearty and nutritious element to your meal. Broccoli, in particular, pairs well with the Cajun flavors and can be easily added to your plate.
Pasta Substitutes: If you prefer a different type of pasta for your dish, try using linguine or rigatoni instead of the suggested pasta. The sauce will cling well to these pasta shapes as well, ensuring great flavor in every bite.
Fries or Rice: If you’d like to serve something other than pasta, consider offering either fries or rice as an alternative. The spiciness of the Cajun seasoning can add an exciting twist to the otherwise neutral starches, giving your meal a unique and delicious spin. Ensure that you reserve some of your pasta water in case you need to adjust the consistency of your sauce when served over these options.
In summary, when it comes to side dishes and serving suggestions for your creamy Cajun chicken pasta with smoked sausage, there’s a range of mouthwatering options. From refreshing salads to versatile pasta substitutes, you can easily tailor your dining experience to your taste and preference.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
To store your leftover Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta with Smoked Sausage, first, allow it to cool down to room temperature. Then, transfer the pasta dish into an airtight container to maintain its freshness and prevent any unwanted odors from spreading in your fridge. Place the container in the fridge where it can last for up to 3 to 4 days.
When you’re ready to reheat your leftovers, here’s a simple step-by-step guide:
- Remove the container from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. This helps to reduce the temperature difference when reheating.
- Choose your preferred reheating method:
- Microwave: Transfer the pasta to a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a microwave-safe lid or plate. Heat it on high for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring halfway through to ensure even heating. Check the temperature, and if needed, heat for an additional 30 seconds or until the pasta reaches your desired temperature.
- Stovetop: Place the pasta in a non-stick skillet over low to medium heat. Add a small amount of water, milk, or cream to help loosen the sauce and prevent it from drying out. Stir the pasta gently and continuously until it reaches the desired temperature.
- Once the pasta is heated, serve it immediately and enjoy your delicious main course!
Remember to reheat only the portion you plan to eat, as reheating multiple times may compromise the quality and taste of the dish.
Variations and Alternatives for Ingredients
When you’re making creamy cajun chicken pasta with smoked sausage, there are several variations and alternatives for ingredients you can use to customize the dish to your taste.
For the protein, you can substitute shrimp for the chicken to create a seafood twist on the dish. Alternatively, you can combine both chicken and shrimp for a surf-and-turf style pasta meal. If you prefer a different type of sausage, try using andouille sausage, kielbasa, or even chorizo, as each will bring a different flavor profile to the dish.
In terms of vegetables, feel free to mix it up with your choice of bell peppers. You can use green, red, yellow, or orange bell peppers – or a combination of all four for a colorful presentation. Adding onions or even mushrooms can provide additional flavor and texture to your pasta dish.
To amp up the spice level, you can experiment with varying amounts of cajun or creole seasoning. Add more if you prefer a spicier dish or less if you want to tone down the heat. Similarly, you can adjust the garlic cloves to your taste preference, adding more for a stronger garlic flavor or less for a milder kick.
When it comes to the pasta, the dish can be tailored to your preferences as well. You can choose from various pasta shapes, like fettuccine, linguine, or even penne, depending on what you have on hand or what suits your taste buds.
For a smoky, more intense flavor profile, consider adding jambalaya into the mix. This will create a fusion of two Louisiana-inspired dishes that will surely excite your taste buds.
Making changes to the creamy sauce is a great way to customize your dish as well. By substituting some ingredients, you can make it lighter or richer, depending on what you prefer. For instance, you can use half-and-half or whole milk instead of heavy cream to reduce the richness. Alternatively, if you’re craving an ultra-rich sauce, try incorporating some cream cheese for an added velvety texture.
Remember, with these variations and alternatives for ingredients, you can easily put your personal touch on this creamy cajun pasta dish to create the perfect meal for your taste buds.
Weeknight Dinner Recipes
Looking for a delicious and easy weeknight dinner recipe? Creamy Cajun chicken pasta with smoked sausage is a favorite among busy families. This dish is quick to prepare and packed with bold flavors, making it perfect for satisfying your weeknight dinner cravings.
To prepare this mouthwatering dish, you’ll need to start by cooking your pasta according to the package instructions. While your pasta is boiling, heat a large skillet over medium heat, and cook the smoked sausage until it’s browned and crispy. Then, remove the sausage from the skillet and set aside.
Next, season your chicken with Cajun seasoning and cook it in the same skillet until it’s cooked through. Add garlic and onion, and cook until they are tender. Stir in the heavy cream and bring the mixture to a simmer, allowing it to thicken.
At this point, you can add the smoked sausage back to the skillet along with the cooked pasta. Toss everything together, and let it all heat through. Finally, garnish the dish with Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley for an added touch of flavor and color.
Here are the main ingredients and steps for making this easy weeknight dinner:
- Cooked pasta
- Smoked sausage
- Chicken breast
- Cajun seasoning
- Heavy cream
- Parmesan cheese
- Chopped parsley
- Cook pasta according to package instructions.
- Brown smoked sausage in a large skillet and set aside.
- Cook seasoned chicken in the same skillet until cooked through and add the garlic and onion.
- Stir in heavy cream and bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Add smoked sausage and cooked pasta to the skillet, tossing everything together.
This creamy Cajun chicken pasta dish is an excellent choice for a flavorful and satisfying weeknight dinner that you and your family will surely love. As you can see, it is an easy and quick recipe that can be prepared in no time, making it one of the best options for your busy weeknights.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the main ingredients in creamy cajun chicken pasta with smoked sausage?
The main ingredients in creamy cajun chicken pasta with smoked sausage include boneless and skinless chicken breasts, smoked sausage, Cajun seasoning, pasta, heavy cream, garlic, bell peppers, onions, and Parmesan cheese.
How to make a non-dairy version of creamy cajun chicken and sausage pasta?
To create a non-dairy version of creamy cajun chicken and sausage pasta, simply replace the heavy cream with a dairy-free alternative like almond, cashew, or coconut milk. You can also use a dairy-free cheese substitute or nutritional yeast for the Parmesan cheese.
What type of pasta pairs best with creamy cajun chicken and smoked sausage?
For the best pairing, choose a type of pasta that easily holds the sauce and ingredients. Some great options include penne, rigatoni, and farfalle. Avoid thinner noodles like spaghetti and angel hair, as they tend to not work as well with the creamy sauce and hearty ingredients.
How spicy is the typical creamy cajun chicken pasta with smoked sausage?
The spiciness of creamy cajun chicken pasta with smoked sausage varies depending on your choice of Cajun seasoning. However, you can easily adjust the heat level by adding more or less seasoning according to your preference. To make a milder version, pick a mild Cajun seasoning or use less of it in the recipe.
Can I substitute other types of sausage in creamy cajun chicken pasta?
Yes, you can experiment with different types of sausage in creamy cajun chicken pasta to suit your taste. Some great options include Andouille sausage, kielbasa, or even a spicy Italian sausage. Just make sure that the sausage you choose complements the overall flavors of the dish.
What side dishes complement creamy cajun chicken and sausage pasta?
Creamy cajun chicken and sausage pasta pairs well with a variety of side dishes. Some suggestions include a simple green salad with a light dressing, garlic bread, steamed vegetables such as broccoli or green beans, or even a refreshing cucumber and tomato salad.
Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta with Smoked Sausage
- Sharp knife
- Pasta drainer
- Large Pan
- A skillet
- Wooden spoon
- Chopping board
- Whisk or a fork
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 lb diced chicken breast
- 6 oz sliced smoked sausage
- 8 oz diced baby mushrooms
- 1 diced red onion
- Sprinkle of cajun seasoning all over
- Sprinkle of Italian herbs all over
- Sprinkle of paprika (if you like spice)
- Salt and pepper to preferred taste
- 8 oz penne pasta
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tsp cajun seasoning
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to your preferred taste
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and then add the penne pasta. Bring back to the boil and simmer gently. Cook for around 10 minutes if you like your pasta more al dente (hard) or longer if you want it softer. Once ready, drain and put to the side. You can cook and set your pasta aside before starting the rest of your cooking or if you feel comfortable enough to multitask then you can boil your pasta whilst you start with the rest of your prep and cooking. You can keep 1-2 ounces of pasta water to the side to add back into your sauce later on.
Chicken, sausage, mushroom, and onion:
- Chop your meats and vegetables accordingly with a sharp knife on a chopping board. If you are cutting your raw chicken first, make sure to thoroughly wash and dry the knife and board before cutting anything else on it. Don’t worry if you are bad at chopping, it doesn’t need to be perfect as it’ll all taste the same.
- There are two ways you could approach cooking your chicken. The first way is you could dice your chicken breast into smaller pieces whilst it is raw or you could cook it off in the pan and then dice it. If you want you can put your raw chicken (diced or whole) into a bowl and add all your seasoning and rub it into the meat, making sure it is all covered. You can then leave it in the fridge overnight to intensify the flavors. However, if you’re short on time you can cook off your meat in the pan and sprinkle your cajun and Italian seasoning over it whilst it cooks.
- In your skillet, add 1 tbsp of unsalted butter (or olive oil if necessary) and melt on medium to high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add your chicken breast and cook for ten minutes, making sure to flip it around the pan so it’s cooked evenly and doesn’t burn. Once it is cooked, remove it from the pan and place it on a plate.
- Add your sliced smoked sausage to the same skillet you cooked your chicken in and brown for 3 minutes on medium heat. They should look slightly smaller in size once they are cooked. When done, remove from the pan and add to a plate on the side.
Mushrooms and onions:
- Give your skillet a quick rinse with water to get rid of any meat residue left over from the chicken and sausage. Add 1 tbsp of butter to your skillet on low heat and wait till it melts, add more butter if necessary. Once all the butter has melted, add your diced mushroom and red onion to the skillet and saute until soft and moist. Once cooked, remove from the skillet and place on another plate to use later on.
- You’ll now be moving on to make the sauce of your dish. Using the same skillet that you used to cook everything above, add another tbsp of butter, wait for it to melt, and add your diced garlic for a couple of minutes, be careful you don’t burn it as burnt garlic can completely ruin the taste of your dish.
- Add your 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth, 1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce and also your 1 cup of heavy cream to your skillet and bring it to a light simmer, stirring constantly to make sure everything is blended. Now add your cajun seasoning, paprika, garlic powder and also season with salt and pepper to your preferred taste and mix thoroughly into the sauce.
- Now add your parmesan cheese to the sauce and whisk for 3 minutes to thicken the sauce and blend all the ingredients together. You can use a proper whisk or just a fork to do so. Taste the sauce and add any seasoning that you think it needs or to your preferred liking. If you want your sauce to be a bit thicker then you could always keep adding a little bit more parmesan as you go. Keep simmering on low heat, you do not want it too high or it’ll burn the sauce.
- Next, you’ll want to add your drained pasta to the mixture and if you kept some of the pasta water from earlier, you can add this as well, to moisten the pasta again and stir thoroughly. Then add your chicken, sausage, mushrooms, and red onion back into the skillet with the sauce and continue to stir thoroughly. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then serve straight away.
- Voila, you are done! You can serve this pasta dish on its own or you can accompany it with a light side salad to keep it a bit lighter.