I’m a fan of Cajun and Creole food.

I like the earthy spices combined with just enough heat to make the dish flavorful but not so hot it turns in to rectal regret the next day.

One of my favorite dishes is Jambalaya. What I like about it most is its versatility.

You can use a variety of meats depending on what you like. You can also add the veggies of your choice, and leave out whatever you don’t like (in my case okra). The amount of heat can also be adjusted from timid to bold, depending on your taste and pain tolerance. A nice bowl of Jambalaya on a chilly winter day can really hit the spot!

I think it was around the first time I made, or shall I say attempted to make, this dish that my allergy to recipes developed.

The first time I attempted Jambalaya I was really excited… until I plated up the final product and was staring at a big mass of starchy glop.

I’m not a fan of wasting food, but this stuff had to go. Undeterred, I attempted to make it again, but this time I tweaked the recipe… and came up with similar results.


After my third disaster, I sat down and analyzed what I had been doing wrong. The first thing I did was get rid of the okra. It can be slimy and challenging to cook with. The next revelation that came to me was simple, yet frustrating… I have come to the conclusion that rice is not my friend! I love steamed rice, but unfortunately cannot cook it to save my life. Now that I have discovered the problem how do I fix it?

And then it hit me.

(arms raised to the heavens ~HAAAAAAAAAAAAAA~)


I love pasta, it would work well with the Jambalaya, and I can cook pasta!

Once I got over my epiphany, I decided to scrap every Jambalaya recipe I had and just rely on my instincts, and guess what…. it worked! I thought about the ingredients I liked and disliked and made what I thought would taste good.

This recipe is the result of fine tuning a bit here and tweaking a bit there. Let’s be honest, I do this every time I cook!



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  1. Start with the sauce basics. Combine the tomato sauce, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and bay leaves in a large pot and start it off on low heat. I don’t add any Cajun seasoning here as we will be seasoning the meat before we cook and I don’t want to overpower it from the beginning. Season as you go…
  2. Lightly oil a pan over medium heat and add the onion and pepper. Cook until the onion is translucent but not yet turning brown. About a minute before you think the onion is cooked through add the garlic. Cook it an additional minute or so and add to the tomato sauce.
  3. For the meat I start with the chicken. You can cook it one of 2 ways, cubed and sautéed or grilled whole and cubed later. Either way you should season liberally with Cajun seasoning. If you are going the sautéed route cube the chicken before seasoning.
  4. Cut the sausage at the bias into approximately ½ inch slices. These can be heated in a pan with oil until they start to turn brown. Personally I don’t like to overcook the sausage but rather let them release their flavor into the sauce. When they are heated through add to the sauce.
  5. Place the shrimp in a large bowl and liberally sprinkle with Cajun seasoning and cover. This should be placed in the fridge until the sauce is about five to ten minutes from being finished. I don’t know about you but I loathe over cooked shrimp!
  6. Now that the sauce is starting to cook we start to taste, and season. Keep in mind that the shrimp have seasoning that will add to the flavor of the sauce. I usually end up adding anywhere from one to three tablespoons of Cajun seasoning, a little at a time, while it cooks. If the sauce is too thick, add some chicken broth. If it’s too thin, just let it simmer. I usually simmer it covered for 45 to 90 minutes.
  7. Cook the pasta according to package directions. During the last five to ten minutes of cooking the sauce add the shrimp. When the shrimp firm up and turn pink the sauce is done. Serve the sauce over the noodles with some garlic bread.
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Andouille is a great sausage. I don’t care for the commercial stuff, preferring locally made.
Keep a smaller can of tomato sauce handy in case you need to add more.
You can use Essence Cajun seasoning but I prefer Paul Prudhomme’s Poultry Magic
Why bay leaves? Because I put bay leaves in EVERYTHING!
This is my version of Jambalaya pasta, I hope you try it. As always, make the recipe then make it your own.