Carbonara is an Italian style pasta made with eggs, hard cheese (such as pecorino or parmesan), cured pork (I like bacon), and black pepper; it’s quite easy to make and super tasty! I often like to add an extra protean, like chicken, and it’s also nice to spice it up with some cajun seasoning. The sauce in a carbonara sauce is made with the combination of the eggs, cheese and some of the hot water that the pasta was cooked in and this results in a rich and creamy sauce without using any cream at all. In this version, chicken breasts are seasoned with cajun seasoning and cooked in the pan before making the sauce, also containing some cajun seasoning, which adds a hint of heat along with the cajun flavours. This meal takes less than 30 minutes to make so it’s great for a busy weeknight meal and it’s also perfectfor entertaining or a special dinner for two!
Note: The eggs ‘cook’ in the residual heat in the pan, the heat of the pasta and the just boiled pasta water.
Cajun Chicken Carbonara
A quick and easy cajun take on carbonara pasta with cajun seasoned chicken and a lightly seasoned carbonara sauce!
- 8 ounces pasta (such as linguine or fettuccine or penne, etc.) (gluten-free for gluten-free)
- 4 ounces bacon cut into 1 inch pieces (or 4 ounces pancetta, diced)
- 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
- 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
- 1 clove garlic, chopped (optional)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
- 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
- plenty of fresh cracked black pepper
- Start cooking the pasta as directed on the package.
- Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large pan until crispy and set aside.
- Season the chicken with the cajun seasoning, and cook in the bacon grease in the pan until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes per side, before setting aside and draining off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease.
- Add the garlic and turn off the heat.
- Mix the egg, cheese, cajun seasoning, pepper, salt and parsley in a bowl.
- Drain the cooked pasta reserving some of the water.
- Mix the pasta, the egg mixture and bacon in the pan with the garlic, adding reserved pasta water as needed to form a nice sauce.
- Serve topped with the cajun chicken, optionally sliced.
Tip: Chicken cooks faster when it’s thin, about 1/2-1 inch thick; pound thicker chicken thin or cut it in half to make it thinner.
Option: Garnish with chopped parsley and/or cilantro.
Option: Replace the chicken with shrimp or use a combination of chicken and shrimp!
Option: Add extra meat and/or veggies such as sliced andouille sausage, bell peppers, collard greens, kale, swiss chard, green beans, etc.
Note: Store bought cajun seasoning often contains a lot of salt. I like to use homemade cajun seasoning to control the amount of salt. If you are using store bought seasoning, you may want to use less.
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