Louisiana Chicken Pasta

My motivation behind trying this dish runs back to a few months ago.  We had just purchased a new car (yay!) and were leaving the dealership.  Since it was already pretty late for dinner and we were nearby, we decided to head to Cheesecake Factory as a mini-celebration.  We sat down and looked at the menu, I took maybe one sip of water, and then Andrew had a mega-meltdown and we ended up having to leave the restaurant with no dinner.  (Hey, I can’t blame him – sitting through all the lengthy signing ceremonies at the dealership made me cranky too.)  The meal I had planned on ordering was Louisiana chicken pasta – it sounded fabulous!  I was so bummed I didn’t get to try it that night.

Just a couple of weeks later, Tara posted this knockoff recipe on her blog.  I took that as a sign that I definitely needed to taste this dish!  It did take me a while to get around to this one, but I’m glad I made it.  Now, if you are a healthy-food only person, navigate away from this page quickly.  This is pasta with pieces of fried chicken and a cream sauce – so yeah, not even kinda healthy.  However, I really think this dish could be lightened significantly, and I actually think I would prefer it that way.  This was delicious, but the time it took to bread and fry all the chicken pieces was just not worth it to me.

I’ll most definitely make this again, but with several adaptations.  Next time, I will only use one chicken breast.  I used two this time and ended up with a HUGE amount of chicken pieces.  If I had used it all, it would have been like chicken with a few pieces of pasta so I saved half of it to make salads with the next night for dinner.  And not only will I use less chicken, I will skip the frying entirely.  Instead I think I will just season the chicken with Cajun seasoning and sauté it to save time and calories.  I will increase the veggies a bit, as I would have enjoyed more of those. Also, I think the cream sauce could be lightened by replacing more of the heavy cream with half and half or whole milk.  I have reflected all of these future changes below, but if you are interested in the real version, check out the link below.

Louisiana Chicken Pasta
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For the chicken:
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper
Cajun seasoning

For the pasta:
8 oz. bowtie pasta
Kosher salt 

For the sauce:
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. water 
3 scallions, chopped 

To cook the chicken, heat a small amount of butter or olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and a generous sprinkle of Cajun seasoning.   Add to the skillet and cook until lightly browned and cooked through.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.  

Bring a pot of salted water to boil.  Cook the pasta according to package directions.   Drain the cooked pasta and set aside.

Meanwhile, return the skillet to medium heat and heat the butter and olive oil until the butter has melted.   Add the bell peppers and onion to the pan.  Mix in the salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper.  Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 6-8 minutes.  Add the half-and-half and heavy cream to the pan and bring to a simmer.  In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water, and add to the skillet once the cream mixture has started to bubble.  Allow to cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.

When the sauce has thickened, add the cooked pasta and chicken pieces to the pan.  Stir well to combine and cook at medium-low heat just until the chicken is warmed through.  Adjust the amount of Cajun seasoning if necessary to suit your tastes.  Stir in the scallions.  Serve immediately and top with additional Cajun seasoning, if desired. 

Source: adapted from Smells Like Home, inspired by The Cheesecake Factory

22 Responses

  1. This sounds great 🙂 I have a cajun chicken pasta recipe that sounds similar but I will need to try this one and compare. I bet it would be good with shrimp too!

  2. I found what we are having for dinner tonight 🙂

  3. I’m always looking for something new to do with the old boneless, skinless boobs. Never tried the O-G, but am looking forward to trying this one. Thanks Annie!

  4. Annie –

    I have been following your blog for months now and have made many of your great dishes! Lousianna Chicken Pasta is what I always order at Cheesecake Factory. I got so excited when I checked the blog today that I just had to leave a comment this time! You’re fantastic!!

  5. This looks really flavorful. I find heavy cream pastas too heavy also so I like the substitutions you made. Thanks for sharing your inspiration behind this dish!

  6. I’ve never been to the Cheesecake Factory, but I think this would appeal to me too! It looks delicious. I’ll have to make it because we both love those seasonings.

  7. Wow that looks really fantastic.

  8. I have only been to the Cheesecake Factory once and wasn’t terribly impressed. I should have come over your house instead. 🙂

  9. OMG! I’ve had this at Cheesecake Factory and yours looks a lot better! I can’t wait to make it for my husband. He is going to love it : ) Thanks for sharing

  10. I’ve never seen this on the Cheesecake Factory menu but I’m sure yours is better! Homemade dishes are always better than chained restaurants, in my opinion. I love the sprinkle of red on top of the dish! It’s so classically Louisiana!

  11. I am writing this as I am eatin this dish 🙂 It is fabulous!! I’m glad you posted this. My husband lived in Louisiana for a few years, I’m sure he will enjoy it!

  12. Really looks delicious (and decadent). Would love to see how it is when it’s lightened!

  13. Oooh this looks so good, but ouch my arteries are already clogged just reading it. I think I might try to lighten it up and see how it is. If you can have a creamy dish without all the fat its a great day!

  14. I love the new look of your blog!!!! The pasta looks good too, but I was immediately drawn to the new “set”.

  15. I have never had this at the CF, but I want to make it at home now because it sounds so good!

  16. Ugh – one look at the Cheesecake Factory menu and I’m dying to eat. Can’t imagine being tempted and then having to leave!
    I am definitley bookmarking this to try!

  17. This sounds delicious.

  18. I just made this and we loved it!!!!!

    I also made my 10-year old the Butterfly cupcakes for her birthday in June…the were delicious and a huge hit!

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  19. cooowwww now that looks nice!! xx

  20. […] Tomatoes from Adventures in Home Cooking, Edamame Hummus from Andrea’s Easy Vegan Cooking, Louisiana Chicken Pasta from Annie’s Eats, Three Cheese Spaghetti Pie from Archana’s Kitchen, Dates Wrapped in […]

  21. Annie! I made this last night and it was fabulous! Both me and my husband were in love with it!!! I haven’t been to Cheesecake Factory in a while but I’ll be sure not to get this (as this can’t be topped). Also .. I didn’t see where to put in the garlic powder. I assume with the other seasonings after the peppers and onions are added to the pan, correct? I omitted by mistake but it still turned out wonderfully. =)

  22. I made this and my extremely picky 18-year old (who really does not like bell peppers one bit) LOVED it. My older daughters missed out and are very jealous, so we will be making this again. Thanks!

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