Living in Florida, Mardi Gras comes and goes some years with hardly a mention, even though my dear husband is New Orleans born and bred with a slew of wonderful Louisiana relatives who really know how to cook, eat and party. At least this year, I was treated to a slice of King Cake by a good friend who also hails from there—but that was it for Mardi Gras for me this year.
I was thinking about that yesterday, craving something New Orleans-y, and thought of this great pasta recipe, which I adapted from quintessential New Orleans chef Emeril. I do love the classic Jambalaya made with rice, but we’ve also grown to love this pasta version. This is a good recipe to make when you need to feed a crowd. And once I’ve made it, I can leave it on the stove while I watch the news, and then it reheats nicely while I’m tossing the salad or slicing some bread to go with it. If you’re not feeding a crowd, it’s also great as a leftover. So there you have it…Laissez les bon temps roulez!
Preparation Time: 30 minutes of chopping, peeling, etc.
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour (unless you’re a lot faster than I am)
Serves 6 to 8
1 pound farfalle (bowtie) pasta
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 pound peeled, deveined large shrimp
2 tablespoons of Emeril’s Essence or other Cajun seasoning
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch dice
¾ pound andouille sausage, cut into ½ -inch dice
1 medium onion, finely diced
½ green bell pepper, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup chicken stock
1 (14.5) ounce can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for passing separately
Cook the farfalle in boiling, salted water according to package directions until it is al dente (tender but still firm to the bite). Remove the pot from the heat. Add the shrimp to the pot, cover and let stand until the shrimp are pink and firm, about 2 minutes. Drain the pasta and the shrimp, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
While the pasta cooks, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan. Season the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the Cajun seasoning and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 3 minutes, stirring and turning to brown all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Put the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and add the sausage, onion and green pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sausage is browned and the onions are translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock to the pan and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the diced tomatoes, thyme, the remaining tablespoon of Cajun seasoning, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the cream to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the chicken, the shrimp and pasta, and the reserved one-cup of pasta cooking liquid. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp and chicken are fully cooked through, and most of the pasta cooking water has evaporated. The pasta should have a nice, creamy texture. Remove from the heat, stir in the basil and the Parmesan. Toss to combine and serve.
Note: This recipe has a bit of kick to it—medium to spicy in my book. You can reduce the spiciness of this by using a less spicy sausage (a kielbasa would also be good) and/or lightening up on the Cajun seasoning.