Cajun cuisine, the style of cooking named for the French-speaking immigrants who were deported by the British from Acadia (now the Nova Scotia area of Canada) in the mid-1700s, isn’t necessarily hot and spicy. But it can be.
While the base of most Cajun dishes is the mind “holy trinity” ingredients — bell peppers, onion and celery — some others contain generous amounts of spices and ingredients that aren’t for the faint of heart. Some entrees that come to mind are jambalaya, gumbo and blackened fish.
Recently, a friend, Monte Lund, inquired about a recipe for Cajun Chicken Pasta. He said he was looking for something that was spicy but didn’t contain peppers. I told him about the following recipe, which we like. It can be as spicy as you want it to be. And it doesn’t contain peppers.
I made it the other night (using pheasant breasts), since we hadn’t eaten it in a while. I doubled the recipe because our grandson, Rakeem, was dining with us. He enjoyed two generous helpings of the dish, and took one home, so I knew it was OK.
The dish is contains 924 calories and 63 grams of fat per serving, so you might want to take this into account when you’re planning the rest of the day’s meal.
Cajun Chicken Pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
4 ounces linguine, cooked al dente
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons butter
1 thinly sliced green onion
1 to 2 cups half and half
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Place chicken and Cajun seasoning in a bowl and toss to coat. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute chicken in butter or margarine until chicken is tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat, add green onion, heavy cream, tomatoes, basil, salt, garlic powder, black pepper and heat through. Pour over hot linguine and toss with Parmesan cheese.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis serving: 924 calories, 61 percent of calories from fat, 63 grams fat (37 grams saturated), 280 milligrams cholesterol, 839 milligrams sodium, 49 grams carbohydrates, 2.5 grams dietary fiber, 3.2 grams sugar, 40.5 grams protein. Note: To thicken sauce, add some cornstarch. And to make spicier, add more Cajun seasoning.