In Louisiana, Jambalaya is king! Many events feature large pots of jambalaya simmering outdoors for catered lunches or dinners. Our delicious jambalaya pasta is a Cajun jambalaya recipe with a twist. You can't help but fall in love with this flavor-packed meal. It is just that good!
What is jambalaya?
To us, it's a one pot dinner that delights everyone. Jambalaya is filled with marinated chicken, spicy Cajun sausage, fragrant onions, peppers, celery, tomatoes and a whole lot of great spices. Often it's a shrimp and sausage jambalaya, or a combo of these plus chicken. Traditionally, the base for these ingredients is rice. We've tried pasta jambalaya at various restaurants around the U.S. and decided to make our own version of this tasty dish with bow tie pasta.
What does "jambalaya" mean?
The Oxford English dictionary says "jambalaya" comes from the Louisiana French Provencal word "jambalaia" which means a mish mash or mixup.
A Louisiana original
The dish originated in Louisiana with French, Spanish and African influences. There are both Cajun and Creole jambalayas. Jambalaya was a dish of the people. For people of limited resources, any leftovers could be thrown into the jambalaya pot. Any variety or combination of meats may be used to make jambalaya.
Because we lived in Louisiana, we've eaten some delicious jambalayas. We've also had plenty with dry meat and too much rice. We love the jambalaya recipes filled with vegetables. In creating our recipe, we wanted to make a creamy jambalaya pasta. Our easy jambalaya has a delicious tomato cream sauce that gives it some "lagniappe" ("a little something extra").
Dry rub chicken
For this recipe, we rub a Cajun spice marinade on chicken pieces. Next, fry some bacon.
One pot jambalaya
Save a little bacon grease to sauté the veggies. Next add chicken, Cajun sausage, tomatoes, a few more tasty herbs, and brown sugar. Don't worry, you don't need to go to Louisiana to find the sausage. My Las Vegas Costco had "Louisiana sausage". Andouille sausage is traditional, but you can use any type of Italian sausage if you'd like.
Making tomato cream sauce
You can make the bow tie pasta and the tomato cream sauce while the jambalaya is simmering. For the sauce, sauté onions, then add canned tomatoes, herbs and spices and simmer. Next puree with an emersion blender or regular blender.
When cooking is finished, simply toss the tomato cream sauce together with the pasta, meat and vegetables. Add a bit of fresh Italian parsley for garnish. We hope you'll love this pasta jambalaya, or what the locals call "Pastalaya" like we do!
If you like this recipe, why not try some other delicious Louisiana recipes?
- Shrimp and Artichoke Bisque
- White Chocolate Raspberry Bread Pudding with Vanilla Caramel Sauce
- Sensation Salad
- Creole Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
- Traditional Mardi Gras King Cake
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For Chicken Marinade Rub
- 1 teaspoon Cajun or Creole seasoning such as Tony Chacere’s or Monster Creole
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ cup bacon about 6 pieces, cooked and chopped
- 1 large yellow onion about 2 cups, diced (reserve ½ cup for sauce)
- 2 cups celery diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper diced
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 1 pound chicken breast diced
- 1 pound andouille sausage or other Cajun sausage (we used Louisiana Brand hot links from Costco), sliced diagonally
- 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
- 10 ounce can Rotel tomatoes and green chilis drained
- 1 bunch green onions sliced
- 1 bunch Italian parsley chopped (reserve ½ for garnish)
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Tabasco sauce or other hot sauce
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 pound bow tie pasta
For Tomato Cream Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon tried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup cream
Chicken Marinade Rub
- Cut 1 pound chicken breasts in to bite size pieces. Place in a bowl or other dish. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning and smoked paprika and rub in.Let sit for 15 minutes to marinate before cooking chicken.
- In a large pot, cook bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and place on paper towel lined plate to absorb grease. Chop when cooled and set aside.
- Drain bacon grease from pot, reserve 1 Tablespoon bacon grease and reserved “bits”to cook onion in. Sauté 1 ½ cups chopped onion for 3-4 minutes in bacon grease, then add chopped celery, and red, yellow and green peppers for about 5 minutes more.
- Add garlic and blend into other ingredients. Add chicken pieces to pot and sauté to cook throughly.
- Add sliced sausage to pot and continue to sauté ingredients. Add chopped bacon, grape tomatoes, Rotel tomatoes/chilies green onions, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, red wine vinegar, and smoked paprika in pot and stir to combine.
- Let pot simmer for 30 minutes. While it is simmering, make the tomato cream sauce (instruction below) and cook your bow tie pasta according to package directions (cook 8-10 minutes for al dente).
- After pasta is drained and tomato cream sauce is finished, add sauce to meat and vegetables. Then gently toss with pasta and stir to blend well. Garnish with reserved chopped parsley. Serve.
Tomato Cream Sauce
- Sauté ½ cup chopped onions in olive oil. Add garlic, brown sugar, pepper, salt, thyme, oregano, and basil.
- Add diced canned tomatoes and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes.
- Reduce heat and add cream. Stir to blend well. Blend with immersion blender or cool a bit and puree in blender.
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