Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Before our little munchkin came along, my husband and I used to go out to eat for nearly every meal. Yeah we were those people. I tried planning to cook, but we almost always ended up going out anyway. Now that I'm a stay-at-home mome, we are only able to go out a few times a month, so I've spent alot of time trying to recreate some of my favorite restaurant dishes in the kitchen. I found this recipe over at The Pioneer Woman, and it reminds of the Cajun Pasta from Red Lobster that I looove. It's not quite as creamy as the restaurant version, but it has a lot of spice and flavor. As with any homemade dish, you can control the ingredients to make it healthier, so I use low-fat heavy cream (when I can find it) and whole wheat pasta. If you haven't yet made the switch to whole wheat, pasta is a great place to start. The taste and texture are virtually the same, and it is much much more filling than regular pasta. You can adjust the spices to your liking, but be careful of your men in the kitchen...mine kept coming in and adding more spice to his liking. Needless to say, ours was super spicy.

Cajun Chicken Pasta
Adapted from: The Pioneer Woman

2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts,cubed
3 teaspoons Cajun Spice Mix, More To Taste
1/2 box of whole wheat linguine
2 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Tbs Butter
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 can Chicken Broth
½ cups White Wine
1 cup Heavy Cream
Cayenne Pepper To Taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
Salt To Taste

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain when pasta is still al dente, and set aside.
2. Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun spice over chicken pieces. Toss around to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook until done. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean plate, leaving pan on high heat.
3. Add remaining olive oil and butter. When heated, add peppers, onions, and garlic. Sprinkle on remaining Cajun spice, and add salt if needed. Cook over very high heat for 1 minute, stirring gently and trying to get the vegetables as dark/black as possible. Remove all vegetables from the pan.
4. With the pan over high heat, pour in the wine and chicken broth. Cook on high for 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Reduce heat to medium-low and pour in cream, stirring/whisking constantly. Cook sauce over medium-low heat for a few minutes. Add vegetables back into the pan, and cook the sauce for 5-8 minutes until the cream starts to thicken the mixture. Add in chicken.
5. Taste and add freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, and/or salt to taste. Sauce should be spicy! Add drained linguine and toss to combine. Let sit for 3-5 minutes before serving. Sauce will thicken upon standing.

Makes 4 servings.

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