Jambalaya is a quintessential New Orleans dish that has its roots in both French and Spanish settlers. Traditionally, jambalaya is made with some sort of sausage, along with some other meat and/or seafood. It includes the trinity of onion, celery, and green bell pepper, along with spicy seasonings and rice. Pasta Jambalaya replaces the rice with pasta to create an unforgettable meal!
I used Emeril’s Jambalaya Pasta with Penne, Chicken, Shrimp and Andouille on the foodnetwork.com site as a starting point. In addition, to using pasta in place of rice, I finished the Pasta Jambalaya with heavy cream. All I can say is WOW – what a fantastic result!
Ingredients for Pasta Jambalaya
I used the following ingredients: Rotini pasta, olive oil, shrimp, Cajun seasoning chicken, andouille sausage, onion, bell pepper, garlic, chicken stock, petit diced tomatoes, heavy cream, thyme, basil, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. For the Cajun seasoning, I used Emeril’s Essence. I know that this takes a lot of ingredients, and a lot of chopping/dicing. However, it’s totally worth the effort!
Making the Pasta Jambalaya
I started the process by cooking the Rotini in salted water for 10 minutes. I drained the pasta, but reserved a cup of the pasta liquid. Once the pasta was cooked, I started the actual Jambalaya preparation. First, I tossed the shrimp with Cajun seasoning and salt. Then, I cooked it in olive oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven for 2 minutes. After the 2 minutes, I removed the shrimp from the pan.
Next, I added a bit more olive oil to the Dutch oven. I cooked the chicken, which I had tossed in the Cajun seasoning and salt, for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, I removed the chicken from the pan.
Then, I added more olive oil to the Dutch oven, and cooked the sausage, onion, and bell pepper for 3 minutes.
After that, I added the garlic and cooked it for around 30 seconds until it was fragrant. Next, I added the chicken stock, diced tomatoes, thyme, basil, and remaining Essence. I cooked the mixture for 2 minutes.
I added the cream and cooked the mixture for 2 more minutes.
Finally, I added the shrimp, chicken, pasta and some of the reserved pasta water to the sauce. I cooked this for around 3 minutes more. In the final step, I added freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and tossed to combine all ingredients.
I served the Pasta Jambalaya with a green salad, crusty french bread, and a chilled Chardonnay. Yum!
This is an update of a post originally published on March 26, 2012. The recipe, which I’ve made numerous times since 2012, remains basically the same. However, I’ve refined the text, and added all new photographs.
I hope that you enjoy the Pasta Jambalaya as much as we do!
- 1 Tablespoon salt plus 1/4 teaspoon, divided
- 1 pound dry Rotini or Penne (See Note 1)
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, divided (See Note 2)
- 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 12 ounces andouille sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup yellow onion minced
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper diced
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Chopped parsley or green onions for garnish if desired
- Add dry pasta to a large pan with salted (1 Tablespoon of salt) boiling water; return to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook the pasta until nearly al dente, 3 minutes less than the package directions. Drain and set aside, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Swirl the pan to evenly coat with the oil. Season the shrimp with 2 teaspoons of the Cajun seasoning and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Place the shrimp in the pan and sear for 1 minute per side. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.
- Add another tablespoon of the olive oil to the Dutch oven and season the chicken breast with 2 teaspoons of the Cajun seasoning and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. Place the chicken breast in the pan and sear for 2 minutes, turning to ensure even browning. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside with the cooked shrimp.
- Place the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the Dutch oven and add the sausage, onions and bell peppers. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is lightly caramelized and the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock to the pan and scrape with a spoon to remove any browned bits that have formed in the bottom of the pan, about 30 seconds. Add the petite diced tomatoes, thyme, basil, and the remaining tablespoon of Cajun seasoning; cook for 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream to the pan and cook an additional 2 minutes.
- Return the shrimp and chicken to the pan, as well as the cooked pasta and the reserved ½ cup of pasta cooking water. Continue to cook the sauce and pasta, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp and chicken are cooked through, the pasta is al dente and most of the pasta cooking water has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the Parmesan cheese. Toss to combine. Correct the seasonings with salt and freshly ground pepper. Garnish with chopped parsley or chopped green onions, and serve while hot. Yield: 8 servings.
Chula's Expert Tips
- You can use any dried pasta of your choice.
- I used Emeril's Essence for the Cajun Seasoning.