Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gourmet Texas Pasta Spotlight...Featuring Lone Star Pasta Jambalaya

I’m having such a great time with this month’s focus on my home state of Texas! Last year, I introduced you to Austin-based Texas Gourmet Pasta. They feature 36 kinds of homemade whole-wheat pasta that's high in fiber and flavored with bold combinations. They even offer gluten-free options! Unlike other varieties of flavored pastas, you can definitely taste the spices and vegetables that they flavor their pasta with! They recently sent me another package of spicy goodies, and I’ll be sharing a couple of recipes over the next few weeks. My package this time included (1) Tri-Color Fettucini (a combo of their Spinach, Basil & Garlic, Tomato, Basil & Garlic, and Garlic-Black Pepper flavors), (2) Roasted Garlic & Jalapeno Lasagna, (3) Red Chile & Cilantro Linguini, and (4) Zesty Cajun Linguini. The first package I opened to experiment with was the Zesty Cajun Linguini. I used it to create my Lone Star Pasta Jambalaya, a dish that combines Texas Gourmet’s spicy pasta with our love of Cajun jambalaya.

This dish has all our favorite jambalaya flavors, but it uses linguini in place of the usual rice. Gourmet Texas Pasta flavors this zesty linguini with thyme, basil, cayenne, garlic, black pepper, and a few other herbs. This recipe can even be ready to eat in about 30 minutes if you start with peeled shrimp and easy-to-chop chicken tenderloins. While the pasta cooks, you have a pocket of time to prepare the spicy sauce. Like our favorite traditional jambalaya recipe, this recipe contains sausage, chicken, and shrimp…and trinity. Lots of trinity! If you’re not familiar with that term, it refers to the “holy trinity” of Cajun cooking: onion, bell pepper, and celery. 

For this dish, I opted to keep the veggies slightly chunky to add a slight crunch to the final dish. I also added in some spices…ok, a LOT of spices…and a can of petite diced tomatoes. Before we knew it, we had a filling dinner that tasted fantastic and would easily serve at least four hungry people. Let me show you how simple this flavorful pasta dish is to prepare.

Lone Star Pasta Jambalaya
a Weekend Gourmet Original

Step 1: Bring a pot of salted water to boil in a large stockpot. While you wait for the water to boil, get started on the sauce. Add 1 tbs. butter and 1 tbs. olive oil to a large skillet with high sides. Cook on med-high until the bubbly. Add ½ cup yellow onion cut into ¼-inch slivers, 2 sliced celery stalks, ½ cup bell pepper strips, and 2 cloves grated garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3-4 minutes. Add the following ingredients to the pan:3/4 lb. diced chicken tenderloins, ¾ cup sliced smoked sausage, 2 tbs. of your favorite Cajun seasoning, and 1 tbs. Crystal hot sauce. 

Step 2: Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is no longer pink. Add one 14-ounce can petite diced tomatoes (my preferred brand is Red Gold) and stir to combine. Reduce heat to med-low, cover, and simmer for 8-10 minutes. By now, your water should be boiling, so cook one package of Texas Gourmet Pasta’s Zesty Cajun Linguini for 7-9 minutes.

Step 3: After 8-10 minutes, add 1/3 pound medium shrimp to the sauce and cook until they are pink. Drain the cooked pasta and add to the pan, tossing with tongs to make sure that everything is evenly combined. Turn off the heat and let the pasta sit in the pan for about 5 minutes to absorb the sauce. That’s just enough time to pour drinks and whip up a simple green salad. To serve, use the tongs to serve the pasta on warm serving plates.


This dish is spicy good! Because the pasta itself is infused with spices, every spicy bite has the perfect level of heat! The veggies are chunky and really make their presence known, and the sausage provides a rich, smoky background flavor. The trick to keeping your shrimp tender instead of rubbery is to add them at the end so they have just enough time to cook through from the residual heat of the sauce and pasta. Texas Gourmet Pasta has locations in Austin, and they also have an online mail order catalog so people all over the country can try their wide range of flavored pastas.

Speaking of trying their pastas…how would you like to try a package of the Zesty Cajun Linguini I used in this recipe PLUS another pasta flavor of your choice? My friend Kim, Texas Gourmet Pasta’s very own Pasta Pixie, is going to make that happen for one of you! All you have to do is visit their website, them come back and leave a comment telling me which of their pasta flavors you most want to try. As always, please make sure to leave your e-mail address so I can find you if you're the winner. I’ll accept entries until 1159 p.m. CST this Friday (3/22). The winner will be notified by e-mail on Saturday. Good luck!!

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