Warming and spicy, this Cajun chicken pasta recipe is a go-to for cosy nights in. Originating from the US state of Louisiana, Cajun spice is a distinct blend of paprika, garlic and cayenne pepper and works brilliantly with the fresh flavours in this dish. Rigatoni is combined with the spicy chicken sauce before being topped with cheese and popped under the grill until golden and crispy. Serve with a handful of fresh parsley and tuck in.
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Grated Hard Italian Style Cheese(ContainsMilk, Egg)
Diced Chicken Thigh
Cajun Spice Mix
Finely Chopped Tomatoes
Chicken Stock Powder(ContainsCelery)
Wheat Rigatoni Pasta(ContainsGluten)
Flat Leaf Parsley
Pop a large saucepan of water onto boil over high heat. We'll use it to cook the rigatoni later. Peel and grate the garlic (or use a garlic press). Roughly chop the parsley (stalks and all). Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
When the oil is hot, add the diced chicken and pancetta. Season with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken and pancetta on all sides, turning frequently. This will take around 6-8 mins. Once browned, stir in the garlic, Cajun spice (don't use it all if you're not a fan of spice!) and tomato puree. Cook for a minute.
Stir in the chopped tomatoes, water (see ingredients for amount) and chicken stock powder. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick and tomatoey, 10-12 mins. IMPORTANT: The chicken is cooked when no longer pink in the middle.
Meanwhile, add the rigatoni to the boiling water along with 0.5 tsp of salt. Cook for 12 mins. Drain into a colander when ready, then return to the pan off the heat. Stir in a drizzle of oil to stop it sticking together. Preheat your grill to its highest setting.
Once the sauce is cooked, pour the sauce into the pan with the rigatoni. Add half the parsley and stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta and sauce to an ovenproof dish and sprinkle on the hard Italian cheese. Pop under the grill.
Grill until the cheese is golden and bubbly, 2-3 mins, then get ready to serve. Share between your bowls and finish with a sprinkle of remaining parsley. Enjoy!