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Indulge in the rich and hearty symphony of flavors in my Creamy Cajun Pastalaya. This exquisite blend of shrimp, chicken, and andouille sausage cooked in a decadent creamy sauce guarantees an unforgettable culinary journey.
Easy Creamy Cajun Pastalaya Recipe
Elevate your pasta game with my Creamy Cajun Pastalaya, a dish that’s robust, flavorful, and incredibly satisfying. Each bite introduces you to a harmonious blend of succulent shrimp, tender chicken, and hearty andouille sausage, all bathed in a decadent, richly spiced Cajun cream sauce. This isn’t just dinner; it’s a culinary journey to the heart of Cajun cuisine.
The luxurious cream sauce clings to each strand of pasta, turning this dish into an indulgent, full-flavored feast. The blend of textures and flavors — from the juiciness of the meats to the mellow heat of the Cajun seasoning — is truly a celebration on your palate.
To ensure perfectly cooked shrimp, season them with Cajun spice and cook separately before setting them aside. Add them back into the pot towards the end, this way they remain juicy and not overcooked.
- Dry pasta: I use mafalda for its unique texture, but you can substitute with any pasta of your preference like penne or fusilli.
- Shrimp: A main protein that offers a burst of seafood flavor. If you’re not a fan, you can substitute with more chicken or sausage.
- Cajun seasoning: Gives the dish its signature spicy kick. If you can’t find any, a mix of paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, and a touch of cayenne can work too.
- Olive oil: Used for sautéing the proteins and vegetables. Can be substituted with another high-heat oil like canola or avocado oil.
- Chicken breast: Another main protein, offering a lean and tender element to the dish.
- Andouille sausage: Adds a rich, smoky flavor. If you can’t find andouille, any smoked sausage will do.
- Onion, celery, and garlic: The aromatic backbone of many great dishes, bringing depth of flavor.
- Bell pepper: Adds color and sweetness to balance the heat. Choose any color you like!
- Chicken broth: Creates a flavorful base for the sauce. Vegetable broth could work too if preferred.
- Heavy cream: Adds richness and creaminess to the sauce. You could use half-and-half for a lighter option.
- Salt and pepper: Essential seasonings to adjust flavor to your liking.
- Fontina cheese: Melts beautifully to bind the dish together. If you can’t find Fontina, a mild mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese could substitute.
- Green onions and fresh parsley: Fresh, vibrant garnish to contrast the rich, creamy dish. Can substitute with chives or other fresh herbs.
Don’t worry, making this creamy cajun pastalaya is as easy as pie. Let’s get into it!
First things first, let’s deal with the pasta. You know the drill, cook it according to the instructions on the packet. Trust me, this dish is worth every second spent waiting for the pasta to be just right.
Heat up the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add the shrimp and sprinkle some cajun seasoning over them. Toss them around so they get coated in that spice, then cook them until they’re beautifully pink. Remove them from the pot and set aside.
Next, toss in the chicken and sausage, sprinkling them with cajun seasoning. Stir everything together and cook until the chicken’s cooked through.
Now you want to add the onion, celery and garlic into the pot and cook them until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Now add the bell peppers and the remaining cajun seasoning. Stir everything together and cook for another minute.
Now for the saucy part! Pour in the chicken broth and heavy cream. Stir it all up, season with salt and pepper if needed, and add the shrimp back into the pot.
Once the sauce starts to boil, mix in the cooked pasta and some Fontina cheese. Remove from heat and sprinkle over the remaining Fontina cheese, green onions, and parsley. The heat will cause the cheese to melt and make it irresistibly cheesy and creamy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I substitute the shrimp or omit it altogether?
Absolutely! The shrimp adds a nice seafood twist, but if you’re allergic or simply don’t like it, you can replace it with extra chicken or sausage. You can also omit it altogether and it will still taste delicious!
I’m lactose intolerant. Can I substitute the heavy cream?
Yes, you can! You can use a lactose-free cream or a non-dairy milk like coconut or almond milk. Just keep in mind that it may alter the taste slightly.
What other types of cheese can I use if I can’t find Fontina cheese?
Fontina cheese has a unique flavor, but if you can’t find it, don’t worry. You can use a different cheese that melts well, like mozzarella or even cheddar.
Can I make this dish ahead of time?
Yes, you can! The flavors of this dish actually deepen over time, making it a great option for meal prepping. Just be sure to reheat it gently on the stove or in the microwave, adding a bit of broth or water if necessary to keep it from drying out.
- Pasta Choice: While this recipe calls for mafalda pasta, feel free to experiment with other types of pasta. Penne, fusilli or farfalle can all work well here. However, try to use pasta shapes that can hold onto the sauce well.
- Cajun Seasoning: Not all cajun seasonings are created equal. Some are spicier, some are saltier. Taste as you go and adjust the seasoning to your liking. If you don’t have cajun seasoning, you can make your own using my recipe here.
- Cook Pasta Al Dente: It’s crucial to cook your pasta al dente (firm to the bite) as it continues to cook when added to the sauce. Overcooked pasta can become mushy and lose its texture.
Store any leftover Pastalaya in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep well for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to eat, reheat it gently on the stove or in the microwave, adding a splash of chicken broth or water if needed to loosen up the sauce.
Other Great Recipes To Try
- Cajun Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa
- Crispy Cajun Shrimp Fettuccine
- Cajun Shrimp with Tomato Alfredo Pasta
- Creamy Sausage Mushroom Pasta
- Cajun Meatballs in Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce
- Shrimp Scampi
- 12 ounce dry pasta (I used mafalda)
- 8 ounces shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- 2 tablespoons cajun seasoning
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 ounce chicken breast (boneless and skinless, cut into small bite size pieces, about 1 large chicken breast)
- 1 link andouille sausage ( or smoked sausage, cut into slices)
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 1 stalk celery (chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 medium bell pepper (any color, julienned)
- 1½ cups chicken broth (low sodium)
- ½ cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 1 cup Fontina cheese (shredded)
- 3 green onions (chopped, for ganish)
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped, for garnish)
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
- Season the shrimp with about ½ tablespoon of the cajun seasoning and set aside.
- In a large skillet or Dutch oven heat the olive oil. Add the shrimp and cook on both sides until it turns pink, about 2 min per side, could be less depending on the size of your shrimp. Remove the shrimp from the pot and set aside.
- Add the chicken and sausage to the pot, and sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of the cajun seasoning over the chicken. Stir everything together and cook until the chicken is no longer pink and is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- Add the onion, celery and garlic to the skillet and cook until the onion becomes translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add all the peppers and sprinkle the remaining ½ tablespoon of cajun seasoning over the peppers, stir well and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and heavy cream to the skillet, stir and season with salt and pepper if needed. Add the shrimp back to the pot. Bring the sauce to a boil, then add the cooked pasta and about ½ cup of the shredded Fontina cheese. Stir everything together.
- Remove from heat, then garnish with the remaining Fontina cheese, green onions and parsley. The pasta will continue to soak up the sauce.
- Serve immediately. Refrigerate leftover for up to 3 days.
- Pasta type: While Mafalda pasta is used in this recipe, feel free to substitute with any pasta you prefer or have on hand. Penne or rigatoni work particularly well.
- Adjusting heat: Control the level of spiciness by adjusting the amount of Cajun seasoning. If you prefer a milder dish, start with a smaller amount and add more to taste.
- Cheese: If you can’t find Fontina cheese, a good substitute could be a mild cheddar or Monterey Jack.
- Protein: This recipe is quite versatile. You can easily substitute the protein with what you have on hand. Try it with different types of sausage, chicken, or even tofu for a vegetarian version.
- Vegan/Dairy-Free: Substitute heavy cream with coconut milk or a dairy-free cream alternative and skip the cheese or use a vegan cheese for a vegan/dairy-free version.
- Always taste and adjust the seasonings as per your preference. Remember, you can always add more seasoning, but it’s harder to remove if you add too much.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.