Last week, traveling home from vacation, we stopped at a TGI Friday's in Alabama for an evening meal. I tried something called their Cajun Shrimp and Chicken Pasta, which the waiter described as a jambalaya. When he brought it out, I noticed that it had sausage in it as well, and after a few minutes, he asked me how I liked it.
"It doesn't suck." I replied.
We began talking about regional foods and I thought that I could do better, so when I got home I started looking for recipes. It seems that Emeril Lagasse has one that he calls Jambalaya Pasta, and I'm sure it's great, but it's got a lot of parts. Good cajun cooking is about simplicity, using what's available to make a filling meal.
So, I started with Milady's basic fettucini sauce and went from there.
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 T minced garlic
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can original Rotel tomatoes
8 oz Velveeta Cheese
1 cup fat-free Half & Half
2 T vegetable oil
1 rotisserie Chicken
1 lb link sausage, cut into round pieces.
1 lb pasta. I used rigatoni, but anything would work; spaghetti, macaroni, fettucini. This is supposed to be a simple dish.
Cut sausage into pieces. Chop onion and bell pepper. With 1 T oil, sautee onion, bell pepper, and garlic until the onion is translucent. Remove and set aside.
Cook pasta in salted water. Drain, set aside.
Brown sausage in black iron pot with 1 T vegetable oil. Remove, set aside. De-bone chicken. Set aside.
In black iron pot, combine onion, bell pepper, garlic, cream of mushroom soup, Rotel tomatoes. Slice Velveeta into cubes and add to the mix, stirring until the cheese is melted and mixture is creamy. Add sausage, chicken and cook on low heat while you wash all the dishes you've used.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Get out a casserole dish, spray with Pam cooking oil. Add pasta, add sauce/meat mixture. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.
Milady and I ate this for supper this evening, and we agree that it's a really fine meal. If I made a double-batch, with garlic bread and a salad, it would feed a regiment. Next time we might want to use a little less pasta, or a little more liquid, but it turns into a fine meal.