That Spicy Chick

Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Cajun Chicken

This Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Cajun Chicken is quick and easy to make and bursting with bright summer flavors! It’s luxuriously creamy (without adding any heavy cream), made in one pan, and ready to go in just 35 minutes!

Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Cajun Chicken in a black round large deep sauté pan

Raise your hand if you’ve ever lost track of time while scrolling through Instagram, and realized that you have under an hour before dinner has to be on the table to feed your hungry self and/or family? 🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️

Well I’ve got good news for you, and it doesn’t involve takeout menus!

What it does involve is:

  • Buttery melt-in-your-mouth spicy Cajun chicken! YUM.
  • Sundried tomatoes to bring all the delicious summer tomato flavors to your plate. 💛
  • A creamy, slightly spicy, rich sauce with super sunshiney sundried tomato pesto. And no, you don’t need any heavy cream to make this deliciously creamy sauce. 🙌
  • A ONE PAN DISH with very little clean up post cooking!
  • And best of all, it can all be ready and on your plate in just 35 minutes!

If all of this sounds good to you, let’s rock ‘n’ roll and cook some creamy Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Cajun Chicken!! 💃

Spaghetti spoon holding up creamy pasta with a chicken piece  above a black pan

Friends, welcome back to That Spicy Chick’s noodles and pasta mini-series! 🥳 We kicked it off with this super tasty Spicy Kung Pao Chicken Linguini – which I hope you guys loved as much as I do! Then we had a little breather with this Homemade Spicy Mayonnaise since it is summer after all. And we all need some spicy mayo lovin’ slathered on our burger buns and sandwich breads, and also squirted on top of juicy grilled spicy hot dogs in my case! (I’m team mayo on hot dogs for life – don’t judge.)

Close up of creamy pasta with chicken

Today, we’re resuming our noodles and pasta mini-series with this super delicious, spicy, and yuuuuuuuuhhhh—mmmmyyyy creamy Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Cajun Chicken!!

Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Cajun Chicken on two white round plates

SUNDRIED TOMATO PESTO PASTA WITH CAJUN CHICKEN INGREDIENTS

creamy sundried tomato pesto pasta with cajun chicken on white round plate with spring onion and sundried tomato garnish

Here’s what you’ll need to make this Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Cajun Chicken:

  • Chicken: I use boneless and skinless chicken breasts. But feel free to use boneless and skinless chicken thighs or fillets if you have it on hand instead. You’ll need to dice the chicken up into bite-sized pieces.
  • Cajun seasoning mix: To season the chicken, you’ll need some Cajun seasoning powder, some ground cayenne for a bit of heat (optional and to taste), and good old salt and pepper.
  • Unsalted Butter: A tablespoon to cook the Cajun chicken, and then another one to make the creamy and rich sundried tomato pesto pasta sauce!
  • Olive Oil: Also for the pasta sauce and to ensure that the butter doesn’t burn on its own in the pan.
  • Pasta: I like to use linguini because it has ridiculously good slurping potential! 😍 But feel free to use any type of pasta that you have on hand or love.
  • Fresh ingredients: Just some garlic and onion to flavor the creamy pasta sauce, and some spring onion (green parts only) for garnish and to make it look pretty on your plate!
  • Cream sauce ingredients: I mentioned the unsalted butter already above, but you’ll also need all-purpose flour and whole milk to make the cream sauce.
  • Seasonings and Spices: Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste, some ground cayenne and crushed red chili pepper flakes for some heat (omit if you don’t want a spicy cream sauce), some dried basil and mint flakes for some herby goodness, and garlic and onion powder to round out all the flavors.
  • Sundried Tomatoes: You can use the ones that come in a jar with oil and herbs like I did, but dried sundried tomatoes will work perfectly fine too. You’ll need to chop them up into small pieces.
  • Sundried Tomato Pesto: My personal favorite is Filippo Berio’s Sundried Tomato Pesto because it’s super flavorful and verges on the spicier side when it comes to store-bought sundried tomato pestos! But feel free to use whichever brand you can find in your local supermarket or prefer.
  • Parmigiano Reggiano (or Parmesan) Cheese: As always, I recommend buying a block and grating it yourself at home. While it does take a little extra time, I’m a firm advocate of doing so because most manufacturers add extra additives, anti-caking agents, and mold inhibitors to prevent pre-shredded cheese from clumping in the bags at the supermarket. Unfortunately, these extra chemicals also prevent the cheese from melting evenly when you cook with it. So do yourself a favor and buy a block and just grate some! 😉
Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Cajun Chicken on two white round plates with spring onion garnish

HOW TO MAKE SUNDRIED TOMATO PESTO PASTA WITH CAJUN CHICKEN

Cajun chicken pieces cooking in pan

To make this delicious summer pasta, start with the quick and simple prep work.

  1. Season the chicken: In a large bowl, toss the diced chicken pieces in Cajun seasoning, ground cayenne, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  2. Make the Spice Bowl: Combine all the seasonings and spices for the pasta in a small bowl. Cover with cling wrap or a small plate to prevent them from being blown everywhere.
  3. Cook the pasta: In a large deep sauté pan of boiling salted water, cook the linguini al–dente according to package directions. Reserve half a cup of water once the pasta is cooked, then drain and set aside. (I like to run water over my pasta to prevent them from sticking and cooking further.) Rinse out the pan and set it back on the stove.
  4. Prepare the other ingredients: While the pasta is cooking, chop the garlic, onion, spring onion, and sundried tomatoes. Then measure out the milk in a measuring cup, and grate the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
creamy pasta with chicken on white round plate with spring onion and sundried tomato garnish

Now that you’ve got all the prep work out of the way, it’s time to cook this mind-blowingly tasty and creamy Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Cajun Chicken!

Creamy pasta with sundried tomatoes and chicken on white plate
  1. Cook the Cajun Chicken: Heat unsalted butter in a large deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the seasoned chicken pieces and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until the chicken has fully cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a clean bowl and set aside.
  2. Cook the aromatics and veggies: In the same pan, add the remaining unsalted butter and olive oil. Once hot, add the onion and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Make the cream sauce: Whisk in the flour and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Then, lower the heat to medium and gradually pour in the milk while continuing to whisk.
  4. Give the sauce some spicy summer flavors: Add the seasonings and spices in the Spice Bowl, the sundried tomato pesto, and the chopped sundried tomatoes. Stir to combine for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the cheese: Stir in in the freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese until it has fully melted. The sauce will start to thicken.
  6. Combine everything: Add the linguini and Cajun chicken back into the pan and toss continuously to coat everything in the sauce. Cook for 5-6 minutes until the starches in the pasta break down and the sauce further thickens, then switch off the heat. (Note: If your sauce becomes too thick, you can stir in 1-2 tablespoons of the reserved pasta water and just cook for a minute longer to thin it out a little.)
  7. To Serve: Garnish with the spring onion greens and serve with a fresh summer side salad if you like!
Fork holding up a bite of creamy pasta and cajun chicken

VARIATIONS

If you’d like to customize this Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Cajun Chicken, you can…

  • Make it gluten-free: Use gluten-free flour such as Bob’s Red Mill Sweet White Rice Flour instead of all-purpose, and ensure that the cheese you are using is GF certified. Most cheeses available in the supermarkets are GF, but it’s best to double check. Also, be sure to use gluten-free pasta.
  • Make it with Cajun shrimp: I love love LOVE making this pasta with Cajun shrimp instead of chicken! ❤️ Use about 400 grams of peeled and deveined large shrimp, and season them as you would the chicken. Then cook for 5-6 minutes, turning once halfway through, until the shrimp has fully cooked through.
  • Make it with Cajun scallops: Use the biggest and juiciest scallops you can find! Season them like you would the chicken and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until they are just cooked through. Be careful not to overcook them! Scallops can become tough and rubbery when they’re overdone.
  • Add veggies: You can totally load this pasta up with veggies like asparagus, sliced portobello mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, etc. if you like!
  • Make it vegetarian: Simply use brown/white button or champignon mushrooms in place of the chicken. Slice your mushrooms in half if they are on the bigger side before you season them. Then cook them in the pan until they are no longer “watery”.
  • Make it vegan: Same as the above for making it vegetarian, but be sure to also use vegan cheese, vegan butter, and either almond or coconut milk.
Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Cajun Chicken on white round plates

MORE EASY WEEKNIGHT PASTA

Looking for more easy and quick pasta recipes? Below are some of my all-time favorites!

Check out the other recipes from this Noodles & Pasta mini-series!

If you make this recipe, tag @thatspicychick on Instagram and hashtag it #thatspicychick. I wanna see!! 🤗

Print
creamy sundried tomato pesto pasta with cajun chicken on white round plate with spring onion and sundried tomato garnish

Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Cajun Chicken

This Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Cajun Chicken is quick and easy to make and bursting with bright summer flavors! It’s luxuriously creamy (without adding any heavy cream), made in one pan, and ready to go in just 35 minutes!

  • Author: Lavina
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 46 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop/Sauté
  • Cuisine: Italian/American
Scale

Ingredients

For the Cajun Chicken:

  • 2 Chicken Breasts (about 400g), boneless, skinless – diced into bite sized pieces
  • 2 TSP Cajun seasoning powder
  • 12 TSP ground Cayenne (optional), to taste
  • 1 TSP Kosher Salt (Note: If your Cajun seasoning powder has salt in it already, be sure to adjust additional salt to taste)
  • ½ TSP freshly cracked Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1 TBLS Unsalted Butter

For the Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta:

  • 8 ounces uncooked Linguini (or any pasta you have on hand or prefer)
  • 6 Garlic cloves – minced
  • ½ medium Yellow Onion – minced
  • 1 Spring Onion (Scallion), green parts only – chopped
  • 2 TBLS All-Purpose Flour
  • 1.5 TSP Kosher Salt
  • 1 TSP freshly cracked Black Pepper, to taste
  • 11.5 TSP ground Cayenne, to taste
  • 11.5 TSP Crushed Red Chili Pepper Flakes, to taste
  • ½ TSP Dried Basil Flakes
  • ¾ TSP Mint Flakes
  • 1 TSP Garlic Powder
  • 1 TSP Onion Powder
  • 68 pieces Sundried Tomatoes (in oil with herbs or dried will work too) – pat-dried with a paper towel if in oil, then chopped
  • 3 TBLS Sundried Tomato Pesto (I like Filippo Berio’s Sundried Tomato Pesto)
  • 3 cups Whole Milk
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (or Parmesan) Cheese
  • 1 TBLS Unsalted Butter
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil

Instructions

Prep:

  1. For the Cajun Chicken: Dice the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and combine all the ingredients for the Cajun chicken except the unsalted butter in large bowl. Toss to coat the chicken pieces with the spices and seasonings, set aside.
  2. Make the Spice Bowl: Combine all the seasonings and spices for the pasta in a small bowl. Cover with cling wrap or a small plate (to prevent them from being blown everywhere) and set aside.
  3. Cook the linguini: Cook the linguini al–dente according to package directions in a large pot or deep sauté pan of boiling salted water. Reserve 1/2 cup of water once the pasta is cooked, then drain and set aside. (I like to run water over my pasta to prevent them from sticking and cooking further.) Rinse out the pan and set it back on the stove.
  4. Prepare the other ingredients: While the pasta is cooking, chop the garlic, onion, spring onion, and sundried tomatoes as indicated in the instructions. Measure out the milk in a measuring cup and grate the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

For the Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Cajun Chicken:

  1. Heat 1 TBLS unsalted butter in a large deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted and is nice and bubbly, add the seasoned chicken pieces and allow them to cook without moving the pieces for about a minute. Then toss and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until the chicken has fully cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a clean bowl and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add the remaining unsalted butter and olive oil. Once hot, add the onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Next, whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then, lower the heat to medium and gradually pour in the milk while continuing to whisk.
  4. Add the seasonings and spices in the Spice Bowl, the sundried tomato pesto, and the chopped sundried tomatoes. Stir to combine for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Then stir in in the freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese until it has fully melted and the sauce has thickened.
  6. Add the linguini and Cajun chicken back into the pan and toss continuously to coat everything in the sauce. Cook for 5-6 minutes until the starches in the pasta break down and the sauce further thickens, then switch off the heat. (Note: If the sauce becomes too thick, stir in 1-2 TBLS of the reserved pasta water and cook for a minute longer to thin it out a little.)
  7. To Serve: Divide the Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Cajun Chicken in four plates or transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with the spring onion greens and serve immediately!

Notes

  1. Reheating Leftovers: If you have leftovers or are not eating immediately, reheat the pasta in a pan on the stovetop and add about ¼ – ½ cup of water. (Cream sauces tend to thicken over time when it is not cooked in copious amounts of oil or fats.)

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 plate
  • Calories: 767
  • Sugar: 13g
  • Sodium: 2940.1mg
  • Fat: 34.8g
  • Saturated Fat: 12.6g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 13g
  • Trans Fat: 0.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 64.5g
  • Fiber: 3.8g
  • Protein: 48.9g
  • Cholesterol: 128.3mg
Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Cajun Chicken in a black round large deep sauté pan

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