Occasionally I get new recipes out of accidental dinners. I intended to make something completely different the night I came up with this fantastic Cajun Pasta, but am so glad this happened. Now, this isn't your ordinary run of the mill rich and heavy cajun pasta, it's lighter and more forgiving but is super flavorful and in my opinion WAY better! Can I get an amen, hallelujah! Anyone?
This beauty is loaded with delicious vegetables; tomatoes, asparagus, red pepper and onions! I grabbed these Aidell's chicken sausages at Costco about a month back, they freeze beautifully, but it's their Cajun one and it's amazing!!
Make sure to get all your vegetables prepped prior to starting, this one cooks fast, you need to stand by it basically the whole time. It's a true 30 minute dinner. Boil your water while you prep the vegetables and cook the pasta after all your vegetables have hit your pan. This way you can ladle your pasta directly into the skillet once your DELICIOUS spicy sauce is done.
Tasty tip? Don't forget to add a ladle or two full of that pasta water to your dish. Trust me on this one, just do it.
Have you ever eaten at a restaurant and wondered how they get the sauce SO flavorful? Here's how. I use a slotted spoon to get all those amazing vegetables and sausage out of the pan onto a plate. Keep the heat turned up. For a thick sauce add a little flour, otherwise you take a liquid and whisk incorporating it into the pan. All those little bits and pieces that stuck to the pan are now going to give you those dreamy flavors. Make sure to do this on at least medium heat, it's going to sizzle and just be a thing of beauty.
After you finish your dreamy dreamy sauce everything just goes right back in your pan! Serve it up to your family that way, super simple. Check out how the sauce just clings to the pasta? You'll want to use Penne or something with ridges, all those crevices help give the sauce a place to bind. And please, please never rinse your pasta after its cooked and coat it with olive oil, you may have seen the old wives tail that it keeps your noodles from sticking to each other, all this does is keeps sauces from sticking to your pasta.
If you want this to have even more kick just add more cajun spice. A tip on cajun seasoning, they are not all created equal. Some are super duper salty where others are not salty at all, you just have to try a few out and see what you like.
1/2 pkg Penne pasta
2 aidells cajun chicken sausages, sliced thin at an angle
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 whole bunch asparagus, end trimmed and cut into thirds
1 red bell pepper, insides removed, cut thinly vertically
1 c grape or cherry tomatoes, cut into fourths
1 tbsp flour
1 c chicken broth
1 c milk
2 tbsp fresh parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add in the cajun sausage, cook for a couple minutes followed by the onion and red pepper. Sprinkle with some cajun seasoning. Cook for about 5 minutes then add in the asparagus and tomatoes. Cooking for another 5 minutes (stop the cooking process once your asparagus tastes done, not too crunchy). Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and give this all a good toss with your wooden spoon. Add the pasta to the boiling water along with a big pinch of salt.
*Sidenote, I absolutely adore wooden utensils, especially when Im cooking vegetables! Give me all the wooden spoons please.
Remove all of this with a slotted spoon (or just dump it) and set it aside on a plate. Return to your skillet, add in the flour and whisk it for a good minute. Next add the chicken broth slowly, whisking constantly to incorporate, now your milk. You can crank your heat up to get this to a boil. Once it starts boiling whisk it good and reduce the heat to low. Add in your parmesan cheese and an additional pinch of salt and pepper. Let this thicken up for a couple minutes. In the meantime pour yourself a glass of wine for all your fantastic cooking you've been doing!
Your noodles should be done, don't drain it. Use the same slotted spoon and transfer over all your pasta plus a ladle full or two of the pasta water. Stir this all around and then add your vegetable mixture. Give this another good stir and taste it, does it need more cajun spice? Add a tad more if so.
There you go! All gorgeous and ready to eat and you won't have to undo your top jean button to enjoy.