If spice is nice, then twice the spice is twice as nice! Cajun Sausage Pasta is hearty enough to be comfort food, but zippy enough to stave off any post-pasta fatigue. Andouille sausage adds a layer of mellow heat to a creamy, cheesy Cajun Alfredo sauce.
Being spice-adverse isn’t anything to be ashamed of. Not everyone can handle the heat. Literally. Biologically. Studies have shown that “genetics inform your baseline tolerance for spice, but training goes a long way.“
So, while I’ve got picky eaters, we’ve been working on at least making them spice-tolerant. And Cajun seasoning is the perfect gateway spice blend for such a mission. From a spin on classic étouffée to a warm and cozy vegan stew to saucy Cajun chicken, we’ve encouraged several adventures – at least into the great wilds of capsaicin receptors.
This creamy cajun Alfredo pasta with sausage is the perfect entrée (pun intended) into testing your tastebuds. While you’re getting two kinds of heat from the seasoning and sausage, you’re also getting two kinds of “coolant” from the heavy cream and parmesan cheese.
Plus, it’s so flippin’ tasty that you can build your tolerance gradually by making your own Cajun seasoning and adjusting the pepper yourself to build resistance. This way, you get to eat one of our favorite pasta recipes over and over and over, until the only sweat you break is from standing over a hot stove.
What is Andouille Sausage?
Like many other foods associated with Cajun or Creole cooking, andouille sausage made its way from France into American cooking via New Orleans. Andouille didn’t originate as a spicy sausage, but Louisiana Cajuns infused their version (and apparently all their other foods) with cayenne pepper.
While traditionally made by combining “rough” ingredients like chitlins and tripe with onions and peppers, in the States, most andouille is made with regular old pork.
Fun Fact: Most commercially-available (a la grocery store) andouille is smoked, and therefore pre-cooked. It only needs to be reheated, which significantly cuts down the cooking time for this quick, weeknight cajun pasta recipe.
How to Make Cajun Sausage Pasta
Andouille lends a meaty bite and a spicy kick to creamy Cajun Sausage Pasta. Start your sauce by sautéing sausage and peppers with aromatics and Cajun seasoning. Then, bring it on home with cream and cheese to create a bold and silky Cajun-style Alfredo sauce. Don’t forget to save some pasta water to smooth things out!
- Cook the pasta in salted water to 2 minutes below a dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain.
- In a dutch oven or large skillet, saute andouille sausage coins until just starting to brown around the edges. Push the sausages to the edge of the pot.
- Add the onion, bell pepper, and cajun seasoning and saute in butter for 4 minutes, until they just start to soften. Add the garlic and saute, mixing the vegetables with the sausage, for 1 minute more.
- Add the tomato paste to the pot and toss until it’s evenly worked into the sausage and vegetable mixture.
- Pour half a cup of pasta water into the pot and stir until the tomato paste is dissolved and the bottom of the pot appears “clean”.
- Add the heavy cream and stir until the sauce is smooth. Bring to a simmer, then add the parmesan cheese in batches, stirring after each addition.
- Fold in the cooked pasta and simmer 2-3 minutes, until the pasta is cooked through.
- Garnish with green onions and serve right away. Enjoy!
- Slightly undercook the pasta – it will absorb more flavor if you allow the pasta to finish cooking in the pasta sauce.
- Save that pasta water! Use it to deglaze the pot and start the base for the sauce. Then save the leftovers and add a few tablespoons before reheating for rich and creamy leftovers.
- Saute the sausage coins until they start to brown around the edges for extra flavor.
Make It Your Way
- Make your own Cajun seasoning! Not only is it more economical, it’s not always readily available in the store. Plus, you can adjust the heat to suit any sensitive palates at home.
- Substitute half or all of the sausage for diced chicken breast. Sear the chicken until no longer pink (it will finish cooking through in the remaining steps), and proceed as directed.
- Use your favorite short, ridged pasta, such as rigatoni, penne, or shells. The ridges will help the creamy Cajun alfredo sauce cling to the pasta, and the short shape makes it easier to fork pieces with a bit of every ingredient in every bite.
Storing and Reheating
Leftover pasta will keep in the fridge for about 4 days. To reheat, microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between. To keep your pasta dish creamy instead of grainy, stir in 1-2 tablespoons of pasta water per serving before reheating.
Did you make this cajun sausage pasta? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
Creamy Cajun Sausage PastaPrint Recipe Rate this Recipe Pin Recipe
- 1 lb short ridged pasta, we used cavatappi
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 12 oz andouille sausage, sliced into ½” coins
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
- 1 large white onion, diced to ½"
- 1 large green bell pepper, diced to ½"
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ c pasta water
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ c grated parmesan cheese
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- Boil four quarts of water in a large pot over high heat, then season with the kosher salt. Add the pasta to the boiling water and stir to prevent sticking. Cook the pasta to 2 minutes below al dente (check the package instructions for timing). Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain; see Note 1.
- While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce. Place a dutch oven over medium high heat; add the oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the sausage to the pot and arrange in a single layer; cook the sausages for 3-4 minutes per side, or until just starting to brown around the edges; see Note 2. Push the sausage coins to one side of the pot.
- Add the butter to the open side of the pot and heat until it melts then foams. Add the onion and bell pepper, then season with the Cajun seasoning. Saute the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the tomato paste and work into the sausage and vegetable mixture. Stir frequently until the tomato paste is smooth and no large clumps remain.
- Dip a ladle into the boiling pasta to remove about half a cup of water pasta, then pour the pasta water into the pot. Stir the pasta water into the tomato paste/sausage/vegetable mixture until the tomato paste is smooth and the bottom of the pot is “clean”.
- Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the heavy cream, stir until smooth, and bring the sauce to a gentle simmer. Add the parmesan cheese in batches, about 2 tbsp at a time, stirring continuously until a creamy sauce forms. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper until the flavor is adjusted to your liking.
- Fold in the cooked pasta and simmer until cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Garnish with green onions and serve right away. Enjoy!