My family loves a pasta that’s topped with a cream based sauce. They can eat their weight in it no matter which pasta the sauce is served on top of. This copycat Cheesecake Factory recipe checks off all the boxes for them. It’s creamy, spicy, and has a few vegetables thrown into the mix.
This creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta is a little spicy, which is perfect for the spice lovers in my family, but I can’t handle the heat so I always remove a scoop of the pasta before adding the red pepper flakes for my crew. If you prefer a milder dish leave out the red pepper flakes, and if you like to feel the burn then up the suggested amount.
I used Farfalle “bow tie” pasta but any pasta will work for this recipe just make sure to under cook the pasta since it cooks a little longer in the sauce.
Any Cajun Seasoning will work, but remember that premade seasonings usually contain quite a bit of salt so I recommend waiting to add extra salt to your food until towards the end of the cooking process and once you’ve tasted the dish.
I pan fried my chicken this time, but the chicken would be great cooked in an air fryer. I only use one skillet for this meal because I hate to wash dishes, so I keep the chicken warm and crispy by placing it on a cookie sheet in my oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit while I make the creamy vegetable sauce.
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For the Chicken:
For the Pasta:
For the Pasta Sauce:
Note – I warm my pasta water as I prep the chicken so that everything finishes quickly.
Directions for the chicken – split the chicken breasts in half so that you have four pieces of chicken. Pound them out slightly to allow for faster cooking (about 1/4 inch thick). Make a 3 container dredging station. Place the flour on a plate, the egg and milk in a shallow bowl (only use enough milk to thin the egg), and mix the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan Cheese in a separate shallow container.
Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts with the Cajun Seasoning and then coat them with flour, dip the chicken breast into the egg mixture, and finally coat both sides of each piece of chicken with the Panko bread crumb mixture. Set them aside and warm the oil.
Pour 1/4 cup of oil into a large non stick skillet and cook the chicken breasts over medium high heat for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. I keep the cooked chicken warm in my oven, on a sheet pan, on a low setting of 200 degrees Fahrenheit while I make the pasta and sauce. Cook the chicken in batches if you don’t have a large enough skillet for all 4 pieces.
For the Vegetables and Pasta:
Bring a large pot of salted water up to a boil and cook the noodles until al dente. Do not overcook them since they will be added to the sauce and will cook a little longer you don’t want the noodles to become mushy. Once cooked through, drain the pasta and set it aside. I cook it as I cook the vegetables and sauce.
Once all of the vegetables are cleaned and sliced, warm the butter or oil up in a nonstick skillet. Cook the vegetables for 4 to 5 minutes. I prefer crisp vegetables rather than soft for this recipe, but cook them to your desired texture. Remove the vegetables from the pan and use the same pan to make the sauce.
For the Sauce:
Over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and whisk in 2 Tbsp. of flour. Cook the roux for about two minutes to remove the raw flour flavor. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. As the chicken broth and roux begin to boil the mixture will thicken. Add the half and half or heavy cream, garlic, Cajun Seasoning, Red Pepper Flakes, and Parsley Flakes. Whisk as the mixture cooks for two more minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if needed.
Add the vegetables and pasta to the sauce and warm everything through. Note – if your sauce is too thick add a little broth or half and half to thin it.
Slice the chicken and serve it on top of the pasta with additional Parmesan Cheese, red pepper flakes and slices of lemon if desired.