Creamy Cajun Pasta with Chicken
and bell peppers / spinach
Blackened chicken tops a creamy Cajun-spiced pasta that's loaded with savory peppers and onions in this quick dish. We add a generous portion of greens to make this a healthy, though indulgent, weeknight dinner.
Creamy Cajun Pasta with Chicken:
- Onions, yellow - 1/2 , chopped
- Bell peppers, red - 1/2 , chopped
- Bell peppers, green - 1/2 , chopped
- Garlic - 2 cloves , chopped
- Chicken breasts, boneless and skinless - 1 lb , halved
- Spinach, baby - 3 oz , chopped
- Pasta, fusilli (or other fun shape) - 6 oz
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp
- Tomato paste - 3 Tbsp
- Heavy cream - 1/2 cup
Cajun Spice Mix:
- Paprika, sweet - 1 Tbsp
- Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp
- Thyme, dried - 2 tsp
- Cayenne pepper (opt) - 1/8 tsp
- Make Cajun spice mix - Combine paprika, garlic powder, thyme and cayenne pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Onions / Bell peppers / Garlic - Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Chicken - Halve and then season and tenderize. Rub both sides with Cajun spice mix. (Can be done up to 1 day ahead)
- Chop spinach. (Can be done up to 1 day ahead)
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- Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Salt generously and add pasta. Cook until al dente, tender but not soggy. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup (118 mL) of pasta water (for 4 servings; adjust accordingly if customizing).
- While pasta cooks, heat a skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add first part of cooking oil and then chicken. Cook in batches until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and return pan to the burner.
- To the hot pan, add second part of cooking oil and then onions, bell peppers and garlic. Saute until tender, ~4 minutes. Add spinach, tomato paste, heavy cream and reserved pasta water (if pasta is still cooking, just use a measuring cup to scoop water out of the pot) and stir to combine. Simmer until liquids reduce to a thick sauce and spinach is wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Toss in pasta and stir until sauce coats pasta. Season with some salt and pepper.
- Slice chicken and serve over pasta. Enjoy!