It has been quite a while since I have made a Cajun recipe. This is the second post in two days giving you a couple of ideas for your leftovers. I love Cajun and Creole flavors. This recipe for a Creole Pasta Bake is the fusion of a classic Italian pasta bake with some traditional Creole flavors. The traditional Italian dishes that use a mirepoix use onions, celery and carrots. The Cajun mirepoix uses onions, celery and green peppers. Since I had carrots in the fridge, they were included in my mirepoix as well.
The mirepoix serves two purposes in a dish like this one. First, the cooking down of the vegetables provides some texture to the dish. Next, and more importantly, the vegetables are in the pot to absorb the spices. The vegetables hold on to the spices really well. I added a pretty good amount of spices to this dish. Some are very conventional like the Creole seasoning, thyme and basil. One is an ode to my love of Mexican spices, the Hot Mexican Chili powder. One is an ode to my love of smoked foods, the smoked paprika. And one is an ode to traditional Spanish spices, the saffron. Even though, I am suggesting the different origins of these spices, the same spices are used across so many cultures.
Do you know the difference between Creole and Cajun? I wanted to know myself. Both flavors owe their origins to France, the difference is in the roux. But my Creole Pasta Bake did not use a roux. I called this recipe Creole because the spice mix I used was a Creole mix. In my researching the difference between Creole and Cajun, the definition I found said that each flavor profile had origins connected to Spain, Italy (that’s right), Africa and more. So I guess, the spices I reached for were not so out of the traditional flavors of Louisiana.
- 1 pound pasta
- 1 pound turkey chorizo
- 2 tablespoons Creole Seasoning
- 2 teaspoons hot Mexican chili powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon basil
- pinch of saffron
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine
- 1 - 29 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 - 14.5 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 - 14.5 ounce can of tomatoes in basil and garlic
- 2 jalapenos, sliced horizontally
- 1 cup pepperjack cheese, shredded.
- Cook the pasta according to the box instructions.
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven on medium heat.
- Once hot, add the mirepoix and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add all the tomatoes and sauce and mix well. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes.
- Add all the spices and let simmer for 10 minutes.
- While the spices simmer, cook your chorizo in another skillet until cooked through - about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the skillet and add the jalapenos. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes to soften and to take out some of the spice.
- In a cast iron skillet, add the noodles. Then top with as much of the sauce as you like.
- Cut the chorizo in pieces. Add the chorizo and jalapenos.
- Pre-heat an oven to 325 degrees.
- Top the Creole Pasta with the pepperjack cheese and place in the oven for 3 - 4 minutes.
- When the cheese is good and melted, remove from the oven and let cool for a minute.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Don't cook the jalapeno at all, if you like it really spicy.
The mirepoix added to the skillet.
The tomatoes and spices added to the mirepoix.
The noodles are topped with the sauce and then the chorizo (homemade) and jalapenos area added.
The final dish after baking.