Recipe: Pastalaya

Published on: October 13th, 2023

Though not really traditional, pastalaya is a cool variation on jambalaya, with pasta instead of rice. Like jambalaya, it's perfect for tailgaters, parades, potlucks, and any time you want a one-pan meal.

The only trick is getting the pasta cooked in minimal liquid, so that most is absorbed/evaporated by the time pasta is done. A broad-bottomed saute pan with fairly high sides works well. The concentrated cooking liquid, further thickened by starch from the pasta, coats each piece in a thick, clingy sauce. 

The version here is fairly rustic, but you can refine it by cutting the sausage and chicken into smaller pieces, and stirring in a little heavy cream at the end of cooking.

It's your choice on the pasta shape. We like penne, and similar shapes like bowties or ziti work well. You'd need to break long pasta (like spaghetti or linguine) into pieces to get them submerged in the small liquid volume.

1/2 pound andouille sausage
4 chicken thighs, skinned and boned
1 tablespoon butter 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small white or yellow onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cup chopped celery
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon onion power
1 teaspoon garlic power
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 pound penne rigate or other pasta
4 green onions, chopped very thin, white and green parts separated
hot sauce to adjust heat

Chop the sausage into bite-sized rounds.

Chop the chicken thighs into one-inch pieces.

Heat the oil and melt butter in a pan at medium-high heat.

Cook sausage until lightly browned.

Add the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic.  Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are soft, about 6 minutes or so.

Add the chicken and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.

Add the canned tomatoes, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir to mix and heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Add the chicken broth and water and heat to a simmer. Add pasta cook gently for about 15 minutes stirring very frequently, covered, adding water 1/4 cup at a time if the pan gets too dry before the pasta is cooked. About halfway through, remove the cover.

When the pasta is tender, stir in white parts of chopped green onions, and top with the green parts. 


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