Cajun Chicken Pasta

Cajun Chicken Pasta
Inspired by a recipe found here.

Pasta, pasta, pasta. So versatile, so comforting, so delicious. I wanted to make a simple pasta dish that incorporated protein in a different way. I had never heard of Cajun Chicken Pasta before stumbling upon this recipe while surfing on AllRecipes. The recipe looked simple, most ingredients were on hand, and the photos looked delicious. I was sold. Again, I modified the recipe to include brown rice pasta to up the nutritional value and substituted heavy cream for light cream, as well as xanthan gum for corn starch.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with xanthan gum, it’s a powdered thickener that works a lot like gelatin, flour, or cornstarch, but is completely vegan and is, in my opinion, a lot easier to work with. While thickening with flour or cornstarch can be tricky and lead to clumps, just a sprinkle of xanthan gum over a sauce works brilliantly to thicken. When substituting xanthan gum for other thickeners in recipes, I do not recommend a 1:1 ratio– you will need far less xanthan gum as a little bit goes a long way. Xanthan gum also stabilizes rather than continues to thicken, unlike other thickeners. This is great because you won’t end up with a gloppy sauce after time has passed. So yay for xanthan gum!

Ingredients:

  • 8oz brown rice pasta shapes
  • 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast, cubed
  • 2-3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 8oz container of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Dried parsley flakes to garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add salt and pasta, then cook for 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

Place the chicken and the Cajun seasoning in a plastic bag. Shake to coat. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, saute the chicken until almost tender (about 5-7 minutes.) Add the bell peppers, mushrooms and green onion. Saute and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat.

Add the cream, garlic, salt and ground black pepper. Heat through. Sprinkle xanthan gum over sauce until sauce reaches desired thickness. Add the cooked pasta, toss and heat through. Garnish with dried parsley and serve.

::Ashley

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