Cajun pasta refers to the spicy pasta dishes prepared by the Cajun ethnic group living mainly in the Louisiana state of the United Sates of America. Cajun pasta dishes are vibrant they most often include ground cayenne, paprika and various pepper sauces. Cajun seasoning mix which consists of a variety of spices and herbs is used to flavor the dishes. Bell pepper, onion and celery being the holy trinity of the Cajun cuisine, are included in most pasta dishes. Seafood such as crawfish shrimp and oysters or meats like pork, beef and poultry are also used as ingredients in various dishes.
Cajun spice or seasoning mix, which is most often used to flavor Cajun pasta dishes, consists of ground or dried spices such as Kosher salt, chili powder, Hungarian powder, onion powder, dried basil, dried oregano, coarsely ground black pepper, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, cumin, white pepper and dried thyme. Clove powder and mustard powder may also be used. The various spices are blended well before use for cooking. The seasoning is common to pasta sauces, soups, steaks and meat dishes of the Cajun cuisine.
The preparation of Cajun pasta dishes generally involves cooking pasta in boiling salted water till al dente, and serving with a thick sauce prepared with olive oil, garlic, onions, cream, stock and Cajun seasonings. A white sauce made with flour, butter, milk and Cajun seasoning is also used for many dishes. Fresh vegetables or meats such as chicken or seafood are often included in the sauce, most often by cooking first in heated oil and then in the simmering sauce.
Cajun pasta is served hot, with a garnish of grated cheese and chopped parsely. It may be served as a starter, side or main dish. Common accompaniments are garlic bread and salad.
Popular Cajun Pasta Recipes
- Pasta with Creamy Cajun Sauce: A creamy sauce is made with ingredients like heavy cream, wine, chicken broth, Cajun seasoning, sautéed onions and garlic and other flavoring ingredients.
- Cajun Chicken Pasta: This is one of the most popular varieties of Cajun pastas, and consists of browned sliced chicken breasts and a sauce seasoned with Cajun seasoning. Many recipes call for coating the chicken pieces with Cajun seasoning and allowing time for infusion of the spice in the meat before cooking it.
- Shrimp Cajun Pasta: This consists of cooked shrimp and a white sauce with Cajun seasoning and garlic.
- Cajun Pasta with Smoked Sausage: This is another popular variant, prepared by adding in browned sausage to a mix of cooked pasta and creamy sauce during the final stage of preparation.
- Pasta Jambalaya: This is a variation of the Cajun Jambalaya, and is made with meats such as sausage and chicken, vegetables, Cajun spices and pasta such as bow tie pasta.