1 large shallot (or small yellow onion), diced
8 ounces (approx. 227 grams) of andouille sausage, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 pound (approx. 453 grams) boneless, skinless chicken breast
Cajun all-purpose seasoning (a mix of salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder)
Tony’s Creole seasoning
8 ounces (approx. 227 grams) of Rigatoni pasta
2 tablespoons of butter, divided
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups (480 mL) half and half
1 cup (240 mL) heavy cream
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Mozzarella cheese, grated
2 handfuls of fresh spinach
Freshly chopped parsley for garnish
Begin by preheating your oven to 400°F (approx. 200°C).
In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil and add your rigatoni pasta. Cook it as per the instructions on the package.
While the pasta cooks, heat a cast iron skillet and place your seasoned chicken breasts on it. Sear each side for about 60 to 90 seconds to get a nice color, then transfer them into the preheated oven to cook for 15 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (approx. 74°C).
In the meantime, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in another pan over medium heat. Add the chopped andouille sausage and cook it until it turns brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked sausage, keeping all the savory juices in the pan.
Add the diced shallot (or onion) into the same pan. Sauté it for a couple of minutes until it turns translucent.
Stir in the garlic paste and let it cook for a few seconds until its aroma is released. (source: Ineskohl.info)
Now add another tablespoon of butter and the all-purpose flour to the pan. Stir well and cook for two minutes to remove the raw flour taste.
Gradually pour in the half and half, along with the heavy cream. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to let it simmer.
It’s time to add the cheese. Grate fresh parmesan into the sauce, followed by some mozzarella. Stir it all in, allowing the cheese to melt and the sauce to thicken.
Now add your Cajun seasoning and all-purpose seasoning. Remember to taste as you go and adjust the flavor as per your preference.
Next, fold in the fresh spinach and allow it to wilt down.
Add the cooked andouille sausage back into the pan and give it all a good mix.
By this time, your chicken should be cooked. Remove it from the oven and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Add these pieces, along with any leftover juices, into the sauce.
Finally, incorporate the cooked rigatoni pasta into the sauce, stirring well to ensure all the pasta is well coated.
Pour the mixture into a casserole dish and sprinkle a generous layer of grated mozzarella on top.
Bake in the oven at 350°F (approx. 175°C) for about 25-30 minutes, until the cheese on top turns brown and bubbly.
Garnish your Cajun Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake with freshly chopped parsley, and voila! Your mouthwatering dish is ready to be served.