A rich + creamy cajun sausage pasta with ingredients that are easy to find! Use whatever smoked sausage you like here and char it in an easy homemade cajun seasoning.
Here is my entire household's favorite pasta, and maybe the best pasta I've had at home!
It's smoky, rich, creamy, slightly spicy, and packed with delicious cajun flavor! Plus, it uses smoked sausage, which makes it come together so quickly (sometimes, it is nice to have a pasta option that doesn't require handling raw chicken!).
The sausage is charred in a delicious cajun spice blend until it's crisp and so flavorful and DELICIOUS.
BUT! It's not just pasta and cream sauce and sausage! There is lots of bell pepper and onion which I love for the texture and also for the color!
Cajun Sausage (that's easy to find!)
Okay, for a long time I was hunting down andouille cajun sausage for this (not easy to find!), and then I realized that if you're charring your sausage in cajun spices, it will taste cajun no matter what.
So use whatever you like of the smoked variety (meaning it's sold as a pre-cooked link). Turkey, chicken, pork - it will all work here!
You'll find the smoked sausage in the grocery store by the cured meats (bacon/hot dogs). I get the smoked beef from Aldi!
I love penne here, but bowties or any long noodle that can withstand a heavy sauce (fettuccini!) would work well.
Be sure to drain it when it's just a minute shy of al dente, then add it while it's still hot to the cream sauce so it can finish cooking there.
There are no frills to this sauce - no broth, wine, or cream cheese. Just heavy cream, parmesan, and a can of fire roasted tomatoes.
It will start out looking thin and maybe even overly saucy, but the starch from the noodles thickens it up as it cooks, and once you've finished whatever pasta is on your bowl/plate, there'll be just enough sauce left on it for a piece of crusty bread to take care of.
This pasta is so adequately saucy that even upon reheat it's not dry!
Serve it with sliced green onions and more parmesan!
Cajun Sausage Pasta
For the Cajun Seasoning
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (omit if you want it less spicy)
For the Pasta
- Cajun seasoning (recipe above)
- 1 pound penne, or whatever noodle shape you like!
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 (12-ounce) smoked sausage, sliced into 1/2-inch coins (see note)
- 2 bell peppers, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1 red onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (14 ounce) can diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- For topping: more grated parmesan, sliced green onion
For the Cajun Seasoning
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
For the Pasta
- Cook noodles in a large pot of salted water until just shy of al dente - about 1 minute short of package directions. Drain.Meanwhile, heat butter and olive together in a Dutch oven over medium. Once melted, add the sausage slices and 1 tablespoon of the Cajun seasoning. Stir to coat and cook until sausage is browned and beginning to crisp - about 5-7 minutes. Remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add peppers and onion to the Dutch oven, adding more olive oil if needed. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to char but still crisp, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the garlic and remaining Cajun seasoning. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until fragrant - about 30 seconds. Add the canned tomato and use the juices to deglaze any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Stir in the cream. Add the noodles and parmesan cheese. Continue cooking and stirring for 2-3 minutes, until noodles are cooked all the way through and sauce has thickened. Stir in the sausage. Serve immediately, topped with more shredded parmesan and sliced green onion.