Cajun Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Pasta is a creamy stove top pasta dish with boneless skinless chicken thighs, broccoli, penne pasta and a homemade spicy alfredo sauce. This restaurant style dish is warm and comforting and great for a weeknight dinner or special occasion.
1large head of broccolichopped
3-4boneless skinless chicken thighs
3tablespoonsall purpose flour
1 ½cupgrated parmesan
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375F. Cut off the dried end of the broccoli stalk and discard. Remove florets with a knife and cut into 1-2 inch pieces. If desired, chop the stalk into ½ inch pieces. In a mixing bowl, add broccoli florets plus stalk, olive oil and salt to taste. Mix well until coated. Place broccoli in a single layer on a sheet pan and roast for 25-30 minutes until caramelized.
Cooking Cajun Chicken
While the broccoli is cooking, start the cajun chicken. Pat dry the boneless skinless chicken thighs and season well with salt and cajun seasoning (about 2 tablespoons to well coat).
In a 10-12 inch cast iron skillet, add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Next, add in the seasoned chicken thighs in a single layer, flat side down and turn the heat to medium.
Allow the chicken to cook undisturbed for 8-9 minutes and then flip and finish cooking for 3-4 minutes (or until about 170 F internally).
Once finished, set aside and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes and then chop into bite sized pieces.
Making Pasta and Sauce
While the chicken is cooking, start your pasta water, making sure to salt the water.
As the water is heating up, prep your other ingredients by grating the cheese, measuring out the flour, butter and heavy cream.
Once the pasta water has begun boiling, pour in the pasta and stir immediately to prevent sticking. Set a timer for al dente pasta, following the directions on the pasta box, usually 8-11 minutes and stirring occasionally.
In a 5-6 quart dutch oven or in a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat until just beginning to foam. Quickly add the flour and whisk to form a roux. The mixture should be the consistency of wet sand.
Continue to whisk the roux for 1-2 minutes, making sure to not burn the flour.
Slowly, whisk in the heavy cream and continue to stir. Start with about ¼ of a cup and whisk until mixed together, then add ¼ cup more heavy cream and continue to whisk. Finally, slowly add the rest of the heavy cream, continuing to whisk the entire time until a creamy and smooth sauce has been formed.
Turn the heat down to low and add 1-2 tablespoons of cajun seasoning to taste. Whisk to combine.
Add half of the grated parmesan and mix until melted. Add the rest of the parmesan and mix well to form a smooth and creamy sauce. Season to taste with kosher salt and cajun seasoning.
Once the pasta is done, remove the pasta from the water with a slotted spoon or spider and place directly into the cajun alfredo sauce. Stir well to combine, if necessary, add ¼ cup of pasta water to loosen the sauce.
Stir in roasted broccoli until coated in sauce.
Portion out pasta into bowls and top each bowl with chopped cajun chicken. If desired, garnish with chopped parsley and enjoy immediately.
Don’t forget to reserve pasta water! I do this by using a spider to take the pasta out of the water instead of draining it directly. You can also save a small measuring cup worth before draining the pasta.
If you’re worried about timing everything correctly, the broccoli and chicken can be cooked ahead of time and then you can start the pasta. The broccoli will be reheated in the pasta sauce and the chicken can be reheated briefly in the microwave or mixed into the pasta.
If you’re planning on having leftovers, add either a little extra cream or leftover pasta water to leftovers and stir well after heating.
It is important that you shred your own parmesan, the pre-grated cheese in a can will not melt properly and the sauce will be grainy.
If you can, buy Parmigiano-Reggiano over domestic parmesan, it is worth the extra cost for the consistent flavor, salt amount and meltability.
Cajun Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Pasta https://smackofflavor.com/cajun-chicken-pasta/