Monday, December 24, 2012

Cajun Pasta with Shrimp Chicken and Sausage

Scotty B's Cajun Pasta with Chicken, Shrimp and Sausage!

Ingredients are in red.

My grandparents were from New Iberia Louisiana which is in my opinion the Cajun capitol of the world.  My grandmother spoke French (Creole French) and was an amazing cook.
  I like to think that I got some of those genes.  Anyway, I watched my father and grandfather cook over the years and one of the things that they always did with meat of any kind is to marinade it in salad dressing.  That was the basics from where all great foods were made.  Of course they would add other spices and ingredients as well but Italian style dressing was a necessity.

Over the years salad dressing's have evolved and that bodes well for my style of cooking.  Take this Cajun Pasta that I cooked for instance.  I marinated the chicken overnight in a Sun Dried Tomato vinaigrette.  It would have been easier to just cook some Penne Pasta and slap some Cajun seasoning on some chicken and bam, your done.  But that's not how the coon-asses in my family would have done it. In fact, for this little dish I probably spent more time and energy on it than I have on anything that I have cooked in weeks.  Don't let that scare you, it wasn't that bad.  I have some shortcuts below and if you have the time, plan on marinating your chicken the day before and let it dance and have a party in all of the spices and seasonings.

I'm easily inspired when it comes to cooking (and other things) and Cajun Pasta is a very popular dish with many restaurants, including food chains such as Cheddars and Chili's.   I really like the New Orleans Pasta at Cheddars and I think Scotty B's Cajun Pasta is along those lines.  Many of the dishes that I post here can be used as a baseline and offers flexibility for anyone to make changes to fit their style of cooking or their particular tastes and this one is no exception.  Cajun Pasta can take on many forms and you don't have to use Chicken, Shrimp and Sausage all at once.  You can also change the sauce.  I used Bertolli Vodka Sauce in mine.  I could have easily made a marinara or Alfredo or a combination of the two but I chose to use a jar of this instead.  However I think it would have been better with a plain marinara sauce.  But take this into consideration when making your preparations to cook Scotty B's Cajun Pasta with Chicken, Shrimp and Sausage.  I hope you enjoy it!

Chef Paul Prudhomme is my brother's favorite chef and it's hard to blame him.  Living in Southeast Texas we are all basically coon-asses and love Cajun cooking.  Consider this cookbook as an addition to your cooking library!

Chicken Breasts - I didn't use boneless on this.
Fresh Shrimp - 1/2 pound for about 3 servings
Andouille Sausage (or your favorite if you can't get this)
Cajun Seasoning (use your favorite. I used Cajun Seasoning from Suttons Bay - Sponsor link below.
Remove skin from chicken breast.  Dust the chicken liberally with the Cajun Seasoning and rub it into the chicken using your fingers.  Place in a bowl and set aside.
1 Cup Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
Dash salt
Dash black pepper
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tbl spn Minced Garlic
2 tbl spn Olive Oil
1 Tsp Paprika
1 tsp Oregano
Mix thoroughly and pour the majority of it over the chicken.  Save a little of it for the shrimp but you won't need much (for the shrimp).  Set the chicken in the refrigerator for at least two hours and preferable overnight. 
Peel and de-vain the shrimp and rinse. Place in a bowl and pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp.
Lets Cook:
We're going to bake the chicken for about 50 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 375.  Cut up the sausage in one inch or so chunks.  Place the chicken in an over safe bowl or container.  I used a cast iron deep skillet with a lid.  It's important to cover it with foil, lid or whatever you have.  Place the sausage on top of the chicken.  Cook in the over for about 35 minutes.  Remove and check on the chicken.  It probably will not be ready yet but it's a good idea to get a feel for how much longer you'll need to cook it.  Fork the chicken to get an idea of it's doneness.  This will also give you an idea of how good it's going to taste when you smell it.  Place back in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or whatever you decide.
Once the chicken is done, remove from the oven and remove the chicken and sausage from the bowl.  Save the juice that is in the bowl and pour it into a container.
Once the chicken cools, using a sharp knife, cut the chicken meat from the bone in small pieces and set aside.  Discard the bones. 
Prepare your pasta by boiling about 2 cups of Penne Pasta until done - al-dente.  Strain and dust liberally with the Cajun Seasoning.  Put a teaspoon of butter on top and let it melt over the pasta. 
Cut one Red Bell Pepper in strips
Slice one yellow onion.
Remove Shrimp from refrigerator.
On the stove top in a large skillet melt 2 tbl spn of butter then add the onions and bell pepper.  Sprinkle a dash of salt on it and sprinkle some Cajun Seasoning on it.  Let it cook for about 4 minutes and then add the shrimp.  Cook and stir (often) for about 7 minutes or until shrimp is done.  Not too long or the shrimp may get tough.  Add the Penne Pasta to the skillet and stir, mixing all of it together. 
Add the chicken and the sausage and mix thoroughly.  Pour the juices from the chicken and sausage (about one cup of it is all you need) over the Cajun Pasta and mix well.  Dust one last time with the Cajun Seasoning and mix.
You have a choice on this next step.  You can add all of the Bertolli Vodka Sauce to the skillet and stir thoroughly until heated through and your done.  Or you can warm up the sauce, dish up your pasta and drizzle the sauce on top of it after it's on your plate.  You get to choose the ending.
There you have Scotty B's Cajun Pasta with Chicken, Shrimp and Sausage.  Enjoy!  Let me know what your think.