Pastalaya, or Jambalaya Pasta, is a super tasty dish featuring shrimp, chicken and sausage smothered in a creamy, cheesy sauce full of Louisiana flavors.
It’s like everyone’s favorite jambalaya, but with pasta instead of rice. How cool!
This is seriously one of the most delicious pasta dishes you will ever eat. Don’t hesitate, start your grocery shopping list now!
As you know by now, we love those Creole and Cajun flavors from Louisiana. Jambalaya is probably the most famous dish from the region.
Though we had heard of pastalaya, we always assumed it was more of an internet thing than a Louisiana thing. That was until our recent trip to New Orleans, where we saw it on every single menu.
Why You’ll LOVE Pastalaya
- Fusion of Flavors: Pastalaya brings together the best of two culinary worlds – Italian and Creole. The result? A rich tapestry of flavors that’s utterly irresistible. Think of it as a culinary journey from the bayous of Louisiana to the heart of Italy, all in one bite!
- Meat Lover’s Dream: Between the juicy shrimp, spicy andouille sausage, and succulent chicken, this dish has every carnivore covered.
- Customizable Heat: Whether you like your meals with a subtle warmth or a fiery kick, you can easily adjust the spice levels in Pastalaya to suit your preference.
- Creamy Goodness: The luxurious touch of heavy cream melds everything into a harmonious, creamy whole. This isn’t just food; it’s comfort in a bowl.
- Crowd-Pleaser: Pastalaya’s hearty portions and universally appealing flavors make it perfect for gatherings. Whether it’s a family dinner or a potluck, this dish is a guaranteed hit.
- Meal Prep Friendly: Make it in advance, store it in the fridge, and savor the goodness for days. This dish is the gift that keeps on giving.
What is Pastalaya?
Quite simply, it is jambalaya in pasta form… And if you mix the words around you can call it Pastalaya!
If you’re not familiar with jambalaya, it’s a one pot rice dish from Louisiana that is generously seasoned with veggies and Cajun or Creole seasoning. It features some combination of shrimp, chicken and sausage. Think paella, but with different seasonings.
This pasta version has the same base meats and flavors, but replaces the rice with pasta. Unlike the rice version, cream and cheese are also added in.
We also like that it’s quicker than the original. A good conventional jambalaya will take an hour plus, but this is more fit for a weeknight dinner.
Ingredients for Jambalaya Pasta
- Meats – Shrimp, chicken and sausage. If you’re missing any that’s fine, you can still make a mighty tasty jambalaya pasta even with only one of the meats. Just keep the total amount around 1.5-2 pounds.
- Veggies – Onions, bell peppers, canned diced tomatoes.
- Flavor enhancers – Garlic, Creole seasoning (see below), Louisiana hot sauce (Crystal or Tabasco, depending on how spicy you want it).
- Chicken broth – You can also use seafood broth for a more coastal flavor.
- Heavy cream – For a lighter dish, you can use half and half.
- Parmesan cheese – Freshly shredded.
- Pasta – we used penne, but any small shapes like rotini or bowties work great, as do fettuccini or linguini.
You can buy store bought Creole seasoning, but as many brands are mostly just salt, we recommend making your own. It just takes a few minutes, and you probably already have all the ingredients.
Check out our homemade Creole Seasoning Recipe.
How to Make Pastalaya
1. Boil Pasta: First, get the pasta cooking according to the directions on the package.
2. Cook the Meats: Sprinkle a little Creole seasoning on the shrimp and chicken so they can marinate for a few minutes while you’re prepping the other ingredients.
When ready to cook, give the shrimp a quick sear on each side, then remove them to a plate.
Cook the sausage and chicken together. Brown for 5-6 minutes.
3. Sauté Veggies: Push the meats to the edge of the pan, then add in the onion, peppers and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, till the veggies start to soften.
4. Create the Sauce: Add tomatoes, chicken broth, hot sauce and remaining Creole seasoning. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. In the last couple of minutes, stir in the cream and shredded parmesan cheese.
5. Finish the Dish: Once the cheese melts and the sauce is a uniform consistency, stir back in the shrimp along with the cooked pasta.
Recipe Tips and Notes
- Sausage Selection: Choosing quality andouille sausage will make a world of difference. The more authentic, the better the flavor. If you can’t find andouille, go for a smoked sausage that packs a punch!
- Use Good Shrimp: Wild caught shrimp have the best flavor and texture, if they’re available. If using frozen, thaw them completely before cooking.
- Creole Seasoning: If you’re up for it, making your own Creole seasoning will bring an unparalleled freshness to the dish.
- Simmer Time: The 10-minute simmer time is crucial for the flavors to meld together into a harmonious whole. Don’t rush this step, let the dish bloom!
- Cheese: Use freshly shredded parmesan for the best melting and flavor. Pre-shredded can contain additives that prevent it from melting smoothly.
- Pasta Doneness: Cook your pasta to just below your preferred doneness. It will continue to cook when you mix it with the sauce.
- Spice Level: The hot sauce is adjustable. Start with the recommended amount and then add more if you’re after that extra kick!
- Save on Cleanup: Not a fan of doing dishes? Cook the pasta, then after draining to a colander, make the sauce in the same pot.
- Lazy Day Hack: Try using pre-cooked rotisserie chicken.
What to Serve with Pastalaya
Jambalaya pasta is fully loaded with meats, starches and veggies. That being said, sides are always good! Here are some nice pairings:
Leftovers and Storage
Leftover Jambalaya Pasta refrigerates great in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Simply reheat on the stovetop over medium heat with a few tablespoons of water, or in the microwave.
We don’t recommend freezing it, due to the cream.
So, are you ready to give your pasta some kick? Whip up this easy Jambalaya Pasta, and savor the flavors of Louisiana! When you try it, please leave a star rating and a comment, I love hearing from you!
Pin or bookmark this great pastalaya recipe so you always know where to find it. And be sure to subscribe to GypsyPlate, we’re always cooking up new easy recipes for you!
Pastalaya, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 8oz penne pasta
- 12oz andouille sausage (see note 1)
- 8oz shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 8oz boneless skinless thigh or breast, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 3 tbsp Creole seasoning, divided
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3-4 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 14oz can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 tsp Louisiana hot sauce
- 3/4 cup heavy cream (see note 2)
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Divide 1 tsp of the Creole seasoning between the shrimp and chicken so they can marinate for a few minutes while you’re prepping the other ingredients.
- Cook pasta to your preferred doneness, according to the directions on the package.
- Heat oil in a pot (or very large skillet) over medium high heat. Sear shrimp 1-2 minutes per side, then remove to a plate.
- Add chicken and sausage. Brown 5-6 minutes.
- Push the meats to the edge of the pan, then add in the onion, peppers and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes, until they veggies start to soften.
- Add tomatoes, chicken broth, hot sauce and remaining Creole seasoning. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the cream and shredded parmesan cheese. One the cheese melts and the sauce is a uniform consistency, stir back in the shrimp along with the cooked pasta.
- If you cannot find andouille sausage at your local supermarket or meat market, substitute any smoked sausage such as kielbasa.
- For a lighter dish, replace with half and half.
- The dish can be made in one pot by first cooking the pasta, then making the sauce in the pot after draining the pasta into a colander.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat on stovetop over medium heat with a little water, if needed, or in the microwave.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 590Total Fat 42gSaturated Fat 17gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 21gCholesterol 206mgSodium 1826mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 3gSugar 5gProtein 34g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
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