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Pasta Jambalaya

This dish was invented at Mr. B’s, and it’s a wonder nobody thought of it before. It replaces the rice in a good sausage-and-chicken jambalaya with pasta. This version was created by the Taste Buds–the three chefs who own Zea–for their first big restaurant concept, Semolina. (Only one Semolina survives, , in the Clearview Mall.) The Buds added two interesting wrinkles: Creole sauce and smoked gouda cheese. The latter touch gives the smoky flavor we all want in a jambalaya.

  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 lb. andouille, sliced thinly
  • 8 oz. chicken breast meat, bone and skin removed, cut into medium chunks
  • 2 Tbs. tasso, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, cut into strips
  • 1 small bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 4 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 cups Creole sauce (see recipe below)
  • 2 lbs. orecchiete, shell, or spiral pasta, cooked and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded provolone cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded smoked gouda
  • 2 green onions, tender green parts only, thinly sliced

1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet. Sear the chicken, andouille, and tasso in corn oil until the chicken is nearly cooked. Drain excess fat.

2. Add onion, bell pepper, crushed red pepper, garlic, and butter. Continue cooking until the the garlic is fragrant. Add Creole sauce and bring to a boil. Stir well to incorporate butter into the sauce.

3. Put the pasta into a large bowl and pour the sauce over it. Toss the pasta with the sauce to incorporate. Divide the pasta jambalaya on six plates. Top with the cheeses. Garnish with sliced green onions.

Serves six.

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Semolina’s Creole Sauce

This is a pretty good version of Creole sauce, made to complement Semolina’s excellent pasta jambalaya, one of the most popular dishes on their menu.

  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 2 Tbs. yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1 Tbs. parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp. garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. basil
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup whole canned tomatoes with juice, diced
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 1 cup stock (shrimp or chicken)
  • 1/2 tsp. Crystal hot sauce

1. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, parsley, garlic, basil, cayenne pepper, white pepper, black pepper, salt, bay leaves, sugar and green onions. Cook until the bell pepper turns bright green and the onions begin to become transparent.

2. Stir in tomatoes, tomato puree, stock, and hot sauce. Bring to a boil, then cook at a simmer about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Makes about two cups.

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