Chicken and Andouille Sausage Pasta with Creamy Smoked Mozzarella Cream Sauce, hearty, comforting and delicious.
I did the thing the other day that you aren't supposed to do but end up doing it often since life is busy and it happens. I went grocery shopping while hungry. Like reaaalllly hungry. Like I was about to buy a snack and eat it while shopping hungry. And while I was shopping hungry I was trying to grab a few things we needed as well as something for dinner that night.
We always shop 1-2 times a week and have dinners planned out but for some reason we didn't have anything planned for this evening so I was hunting for an idea while hungry. I happened to be by the cheese and was grabbing some cheddar for my kids for quesadillas when I saw the smoked mozzarella.
I had a flashback to a delicious pasta dish that I loved from a restaurant from my hometown and I decided to make my version of it - Chicken and Andouille Sausage Pasta with Creamy Smoked Mozzarella Sauce.
The dish that I remembered from when I was a kid had a smoky cheese ( it was either gouda or mozzarella), penne pasta, chicken, tomatoes, basil and a creamy sauce that wasn't too heavy, not like a heavy alfredo sauce. There might have been a few other items in it, but the smoky cheese, chicken, tomatoes and penne pasta was such a delicious combo it has stuck in my delicious food memory bank for a long time now.
My husband and I are big fans of Jambalaya, which is something I make often and will blog one of these days, and we always use the smoked chicken andouille sausage from Trader Joes in it. I knew I wanted to add that sausage to this pasta dish, so this dish is really a hybrid of what I had as a kid and Jambalaya and so super delicious.
Whenever I make a pasta dish like this one, I always make enough to feed a gazillion people so I have to bring out my BIG pot to cook it in. I LOVE my Le Creuset Dutch oven. I have had this pot for I think 10 years now. The color is "Kiwi" and I wish they still made pots and pans in the color. Although I do love all the turquoise and Caribbean color pots and pans they have now.
This pot has been with me living in several states, many moves, many apartments and houses, hundreds and hundreds of dishes made in it and it still looks practically brand new. So worth the investment. I will have this pot when I am 100 years old. As long as I make it to 100.
When I was in Trader Joe's I was texting my husband asking what else we needed and I asked him "how does chicken and andouille sausage pasta with smoked mozzarella sound for dinner?" to which he replied " freaking awesome". He said I had him at "andouille sausage pasta". The way to my man's heart is definitely through his stomach.
A few notes about this dish before making it:
- This can be a one pot dish if you make the pasta in the pot, drain and set aside then use the pot again to make the rest of the dish. OR You can make the pasta at the same time as the rest of the recipe then mix together. Up to you
- Smoked mozzarella can be found in any well stocked grocery store or specialty market. I am able to find it at Whole Foods, Sprouts and Trader Joe's. You could also use smoked gouda but I would use half gouda and half mozarella to get that extra melty cheesy goodness from the mozz.
- This is excellent as leftovers, the flavors tend to get better a day or two after it is made.
- You can sub in dried basil for the fresh, but I highly recommend using fresh
For the pasta
- 12 ounces penne pasta
- 2 tablespoon coconut or avocado oil, divided
- 1 lb chicken breast, diced into 1” chunks
- ⅔ yellow onion, diced ( about ⅔ cup)
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 ½ cup, red bell pepper, large dice, about 1” pieces
- Andouille Sausage ( precooked) - 4 links ( 12 ounces), sliced into thin circles. - I like the smoked chicken andouille from Trader Joe’s
- 28 ounce container chopped tomatoes, drained ( I love using fire roasted tomatoes)
Mozzarella cream sauce:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- ½ c heavy cream
- ½ c milk
- ½ c parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 8 ounces smoked mozzarella, shredded
- 1 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
- Freshly grated parmesan
Make the pasta
- Prepare the penne pasta according to package directions, using salted water to cook. Reserve ½ c of the pasta water before draining. Set cooked pasta aside. This can be done while the rest of the ingredients are cooking
- In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat one tablespoon of the coconut oil. Season the chicken with a little salt and pepper then saute, stirring often until almost cooked, about 10 min. Remove from the pan and set aside. Heat the remaining oil and add in the diced onion and garlic, cooking until caramelized, about 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in the seasonings - salt, pepper, bail and parsley and the red bell pepper. Stirring until the pepper is slightly softened. Add in the andouille sausage and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add in the chicken and tomatoes and the pasta stirring well. Let sit on low heat while the cream sauce is being made
To make the cream sauce :
- Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat, whisk in the flour to form a paste, add in the cream and milk and stir well until heated but not bubbling. Add in the parmesan, tomato paste, salt and pepper and whisk until the sauce starts to thicken and the parmesan is melted. Stir in the shredded mozzarella until melted and the sauce is smooth. Pour the sauce over the pasta mixture in the pan. Add in the sliced basil reserving some for on top of individual portions and serve. Top each serving with additional grated parmesan if desired.
Just look at all the yummy pasta goodness! One great thing about this dish is not only does it taste amazing the first time, but its even better as leftovers. If it lasts that long. I have to hide a portion from my husband if I want any leftovers because he will eat it all. Not all at once, but this doesn't last very long in our house. Even our kids love it.