How fitting that on the last afternoon of our week in New Orleans, I have a bit of time to post about Cajun Fettuccine Alfredo; a casserole dish that I would proudly serve to company. As a bonus, they way I make it, you do it all in three easy bits and pieces, starting two days before you plan to serve, so, on the day of the ‘do, all you have to do is put together the salad, find a nice, crusty loaf of bread, and plan the wine and dessert.
The original recipe, from Taste of Home Magazine, called for “leftover chicken” and “1/2 cup of pasta sauce.”
Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t normally just have “1/2 cup of pasta sauce” hangin’ around waiting for me to deal with, so, I made Honey Garlic Chicken two days before I was planning on serving the fettuccine, then separated the cooked chicken from the sauce, then covered and stashed both in the fridge overnight.
When I was ready to wrangle the honey garlic sauce – to replace my “1/2 cup of pasta sauce” – I simply lifted the solidified fat off the top and chucked it; leaving me with a (mostly) fat-free – but wicked tasty- sauce.
•8 oz cooked fettuccine
•2 cups cooked chicken, chopped (I used the thighs from the Honey Garlic Chicken recipe)
•1 tbsp unsalted butter
•1 tbsp olive oil
•2 cups diced sweet onion
•2 cups chopped sweet peppers
•3 or 4 cloves minced garlic
•Shredded cheeses (Mozz, Italian Mix)
•1/2 cup grated Parmesan
•2 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1/2 cup Honey Garlic Chicken Sauce
•1 (15 oz) jar Alfredo sauce (Paul Newman’s worked a treat)
*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.
Heat your oven to 375º.
Melt the butter with the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Add the onion, peppers, and garlic and cook for eight to ten minutes, until the veggies are tender.
Reduce the heat, then add the chopped chicken, Cajun Seasoning, Sherry Peppers, Cajun Power, and Honey Garlic Sauces, stirring until warmed through.
Note: you could, of course use any leftover chicken, and even that “1/2 cup of pasta sauce,” if you prefer.
Toss the chicken and onion mixture together with the cooked fettuccine in a large bowl – I used the pan I cooked the fettuccine in (after I drained it, of course); then add the Alfredo Sauce and toss to mix well.
Brush a bit of olive oil on the bottom and sides of a 2-1/2 quart baking dish, then add the fettuccine mixture, spreading it out evenly.
Top the casserole with about two cups of Mozzarella (I used a “6 Italian” shredded cheese blend), then top with the Parmesan.
Cover the casserole tightly with foil and bake for about 15 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for ten to 15 minutes more, until the cheese is melted and golden brown and bubbly.
Now, you could, easily, serve this casserole now – well after letting it rest for ten minutes or so – but – we all know how most any dish likes this always tastes better the second day – so – why not plan that first serving on the second day?
Allow the cooked casserole to cool, then recover in foil and stash in the fridge overnight.
About an two hours before serving, remove the casserole from the fridge and bring to room temperature.
Heat your oven to 325º and bake, with the foil cover on, for 45 minutes.
Remove the cover and continue to bake until heated through and bubbly again.
That overnight rest will have allowed the pasta to absorb some of the excess liquid (and flavor!), and you will end up with a pretty spectacular pasta dish for friends and family.
Win, win, if you ask me.