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Spicy Chicken Pasta

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close up shot of a pot of pasta garnished with parsley with a spoon
This spicy chicken pasta recipe offers a complex flavor profile of creamy, tangy, and spicy elements that is easy to make and sure to please all pasta lovers.
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Table of Contents
  1. Spicy Chicken Pasta Ingredients
  2. Substitutions And Additions
  3. How To Make This Spicy Chicken Pasta Recipe
  4. How To Serve
  5. Storage
  6. Why We Love This Recipe
  7. Frequently Asked Questions
  8. More Recipes You’ll Love
  9. JUMP TO RECIPE
  10. Even More Recipes You’ll Love

Our spicy chicken pasta recipe is loaded with flavor, combining tender chicken, creamy sauce, and a kick of spice, all tossed with penne pasta that will transport your dining table to the heart of Italy.

close up shot of a bowl of  pasta with a fork

Spicy Chicken Pasta Ingredients

Spicy Chicken Pasta raw ingredients that are labeled
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The tube-shaped penne pasta is perfect for this recipe as its ridges and hollow center allow it to hold onto the creamy sauce.

For the chicken, we use skinless chicken breast for its lean, tender meat. It absorbs the Cajun seasoning well, adding a spicy touch to every bite.

The blend of spices that are found in the Cajun seasoning brings a spicy kick to the dish, enhancing the flavors of the chicken and the creaminess of the sauce. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound of penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 pound of skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning, divided in half (adjust to taste)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

Substitutions And Additions

PENNE PASTA: You can substitute penne with another kind of pasta like fusilli or rigatoni. Keep in mind that the texture and cooking time may vary.

CAJUN SEASONING: If you can’t handle too much heat, consider using a milder spice blend like Italian seasoning.

Alternatively, you can make your own blend to control the spice level.

VEGETARIAN: For a vegetarian version, replace the chicken with firm tofu or mushrooms. They both absorb flavors well and offer a satisfying bite.

CHICKEN BREASTS: Boneless chicken thighs, chicken tenders, or tofu can be used as substitutes.

HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM: You can use half-and-half or non-dairy milk, like almond or coconut milk, for a lighter version.

Note that this may affect the creaminess and flavor of the sauce.

PARMESAN CHEESE: Parmesan adds a salty and nutty flavor to this creamy chicken pasta dish. You can use Pecorino Romano or Asiago cheese instead.

How To Make This Spicy Chicken Pasta Recipe

Our spicy chicken pasta recipe is a joy to make, with each step bringing you closer to a deliciously satisfying meal.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

Having everything ready before you start this recipe will make the cooking process smoother.

STEP ONE: Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Set a cup of pasta water aside and then drain the pasta in a colander and set it aside.

PRO TIP:

Al dente is the ideal consistency for pasta. The pasta will be tender and will still have a slightly firm texture when you bite into it.

STEP TWO: Add olive oil and butter in a large skillet or large pan over medium heat.

After the butter melts, add the chicken pieces, one tablespoon of Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper, and cook it for five to seven minutes until it browns on all sides.

Set the browned chicken aside.

chicken pieces, Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper added to the skillet

STEP THREE: Add the diced onion to the skillet and sauté it for three to four minutes until it softens and turns translucent.

diced onion added to the skillet

STEP FOUR: Stir in the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and a cup of pasta water.

Reduce the heat to medium and let the sauce simmer for five to seven minutes or until it begins to thicken.

diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and pasta water added to the skillet

STEP FIVE: Add the heavy cream, one tablespoon of Cajun seasoning, and grated parmesan cheese to the skillet.

Stir the ingredients until the cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy.

PRO TIP:

You can thicken the simmering cream sauce by adding a cornstarch slurry made of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1½ tablespoons of water.

STEP SIX: Add the cooked penne pasta and chicken back to the skillet and toss the ingredients until the pasta is coated in the creamy sauce.

cooked penne pasta and chicken added to the skillet

STEP SEVEN: Garnish your delicious creamy pasta with chopped parsley and parmesan cheese and serve it hot.

pasta garnished with chopped parsley and parmesan cheese

How To Serve

This spicy pasta dish provides a delicious balance of creamy, tangy, and spicy flavors and comes together in a flash, making it perfect for busy weeknights.

Serve this pasta as a standalone dish. Its rich flavors and satisfying textures make it a complete meal in itself.

Pair this pasta with a fresh, crisp Caesar salad. The lightness of the salad balances the richness of the pasta, creating a well-rounded meal. 

Garlic bread and pasta are a match made in heaven. The bread is great for scooping up any leftover sauce, ensuring you don’t miss a drop of the deliciousness.

For a twist, turn this into a pasta bake. Transfer the cooked pasta and sauce to a baking dish, top with more cheese, and bake until golden and bubbly.

Add a few more easy pasta recipes to your meal plan with our Italian sausage pasta and creamy bowtie pasta.

Storage

Our Cajun chicken pasta is just as delicious the next day, making it a great make-ahead meal.

MAKE AHEAD: You can prepare the pasta sauce a day in advance and store it in the fridge.

When you’re ready to eat, simply reheat the sauce, cook the pasta, and combine.

IN THE FRIDGE: Store any leftover pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. The flavors will continue to meld, making it even more delicious.

IN THE FREEZER: We don’t find this pasta freezes well. It’s best made when you are ready to enjoy it.

REHEATING: To reheat, transfer the pasta to a saucepan and warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

You can also reheat it in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until hot.

Why We Love This Recipe

Our spicy chicken pasta holds a special place in our hearts, and here’s why:

VERSATILITY: This pasta is incredibly versatile. It can be served as a main course, a side dish, or even turned into a pasta bake. The possibilities are endless.

FLAVOR PROFILE: The combination of spicy Cajun seasoning, creamy sauce, and tender chicken creates a flavor profile that’s hard to resist.

EASE OF PREPARATION: Despite its complex flavors, this pasta is surprisingly easy to make. It’s a great recipe for both novice cooks and seasoned chefs.

overhead shot of a pot of pasta garnished with parsley

Our spicy chicken pasta recipe is a culinary delight, offering a perfect balance of creamy, tangy, and spicy flavors. It’s a versatile dish that can be served on various occasions, from casual weeknight dinners to sophisticated dinner parties. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a different type of pasta? 

You can substitute penne with other types of pasta like fusilli or rigatoni in this Cajun pasta recipe. Keep in mind that the texture and cooking time may vary.

Can I make this pasta vegetarian? 

You can replace the chicken with firm tofu or mushrooms for a vegetarian version.

Can I make the sauce less spicy? 

You can adjust the amount of Cajun seasoning to suit your taste. You can also use a milder spice blend like Italian seasoning.

Can I make this pasta ahead of time? 

You can prepare the sauce a day in advance and store it in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat, simply reheat the sauce, cook the pasta, and combine.

How long does this pasta last in the fridge? 

This pasta can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

Can I make this recipe spicier?

You can add more Cajun seasoning chili, paprika, or cayenne pepper to make this delicious pasta recipe dish spicier.

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close up shot of a pot of pasta garnished with parsley with a spoon

Spicy Chicken Pasta

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This spicy chicken pasta recipe offers a complex flavor profile of creamy, tangy, and spicy elements that is easy to make and sure to please all pasta lovers.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning, divided in half (adjust to taste)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Cook the penne pasta according to package directions until al dente. Set a cup of pasta water aside and then drain the pasta in a colander and set it aside.
  • In a large skillet or large pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and the butter.
  • After the butter melts, add the chicken pieces, 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper and cook it for 5 to 7 minutes until it browns on all sides. Set the browned chicken aside.
  • Add the diced onion to the skillet and sauté it for 3 to 4 minutes until softens and turns translucent.
  • Stir in the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and a cup of pasta water. Reduce the heat to medium and let the sauce simmer for 5 to 7 minutes or until it begins to thicken.
  • Add the heavy cream, 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning as well as grated parmesan cheese to the skillet and stir the ingredients until the cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy.
  • Add the cooked penne pasta and chicken back to the skillet and toss the ingredients until the pasta is coated in the creamy sauce.
  • Garnish your delicious creamy pasta with chopped parsley and parmesan cheese and serve it hot.

Notes

  • Having everything ready before you start this recipe will make the cooking process smoother.
  • Al dente is the ideal consistency for pasta. The pasta will be tender and will still have a slightly firm texture when you bite into it.
  • You can thicken the simmering cream sauce by adding a cornstarch slurry made of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1½ tablespoons of water.

Nutrition

Calories: 670kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 119mg | Sodium: 575mg | Potassium: 737mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2529IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 210mg | Iron: 2mg
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Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

This recipe was developed, tested, cooked and photographed by the Spaceships Kitchen. From our dinner table to yours, we hope you think it's out of this world!

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