Y’all may have been wondering why it’s been a week and a half since my last recipe. More likely, you haven’t noticed or cared and you only remember to read this when you are at work and I post an enticing picture of food on your Facebook feed. However, I do feel the need to explain myself. Here is my explanation: I was in New Orleans. Need I elaborate further?
Yes, I road tripped down to the glorious land of drive-through Daiquiris and never-closing bars that I was lucky enough to call home for four years during college. But it’s not like I’m some degenerate who just drops all of his responsibilities for a week of debauchery in the Big Easy. I’m an adult now; this was a business trip. I spent last weekend introducing my Bayou brethren to the glorious world of Royito’s, doing cooking demos in the regions’ three Whole Foods stores. Then I just, ya know, stayed for the rest of the week to like, “research the consumer population.” In particular the population of Bourbon Street. On Halloween. My job is awesome.
Oh! And I adopted a cat two days ago. His name is Niles. So since then I’ve been busy learning how to care for another live specimen as well as having horrific flash forwards where it is the year 2030 and I am alone living in a house full of cats all named after different characters from The Nanny. It’s a slippery slope to spinsterdom.
Anyway, why was I here again? Oh right, food. During my time in NOLA, I did manage to cook one meal for my good pal Jamie. It was decadent and delicious and obviously had Royito’s in it. It was also Cajun-inspired, so I thought it would be an appropriate recipe to return home with for the blog. Here’s how you do it:
Marinate cubed up chicken thighs in Royito’s and Tony’s cajun seasoning for at least an hour in the refrigerator. You can use chicken breasts for this too, I just prefer the thighs because they have more flavor.
When the chicken is done marinating, coat a saute pan in olive oil and brown it. Make sure not to crowd the pan or it will not brown! Then remove the chicken and place it on a plate lined with a paper towel.
Add more oil and saute your veg in the pan for about 5 minutes, until they have softened but the bell peppers are not a total soggy bummer. Then remove them from the pan onto the same plate as your chicken.
While the pasta is cooking, we will make the sauce. First put a little more oil in the same pan you were using earlier and add some fresh minced garlic. Cook this for like 30 seconds, TOPS. It will burn on you before your eyes and that would be a sad story. (SIDE NOTE: This is the point where it becomes clear that my taking pictures while cooking skills are extremely questionable.)
Now to put this whole thing together. Add the chicken and veggies back into the sauce, drain the pasta and put that in there as well. Use tongs to toss it all together into one big pile of cajun deliciousness.
Also, you’re welcome for this totally non-political blog posting today.
Here’s the printable version:
Royito’s Cajun Chicken Pasta
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed
1 cup Royito’s Hot Sauce, divided
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp Cajun seasoning, preferably Tony’s
2 bell peppers (any color you like), chopped
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup dry white wine
½ cup low sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp half and half
2 tbsp butter
1 lb penne pasta
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 bunch chopped flat leaf Italian parsley, for garnish
In a plastic bag or bowl, pour ½ cup Royito’s and 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning over the cubed chicken. Mix evenly and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Coat a sauté pan with olive oil and add the chicken and cook until it has brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Make sure not to crowd the pan or the chicken will not brown, so work in batches if needed. One chicken is browned, remove it from the pan and put it on a plate lined with a paper towel to collect grease. Get rid of the excess grease from the pan as well.
Add a little more oil to the pan and toss in onion and bell peppers and cook until softened but peppers are still crisp, about 4-5 minutes. Remove cooked vegetables from the pan and onto the plate of chicken.
Bring a pot on well salted water to a boil and add pasta and cook according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, add minced garlic to the pan and let cook for no more than 30 seconds. Pour in white wine, chicken broth, the other half cup of Royito’s, and extra tsp of Tony’s and let that simmer for about 5 minutes. Now add in cream and butter, put the chicken and veggies back in the pan. Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the pan as well, using tongs to toss everything together.
Finally, add in parmesan cheese and garnish with chopped parsley.