What to CookOne-Pot WondersDinner, FasterSouthernSpices

Dinner Tonight: Pastalaya

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There are weeks in the dreary dregs of winter that feel endless. Too much to do, too much to see, not enough time to think—and gray skies to boot. Sometimes, it feels like the best thing to do would be to curl up under our biggest blankets in our fuzziest socks, and just hibernate until spring comes along. But of course, dinner must get on the table, long day or not, and why not make something that only uses one pot to make a lot of happiness?

Photo by James Ransom

Turn to One-Pot Pastalaya, a flavorful and fast cousin of jambalaya. Crank up the weeknight music and the heat with this hearty meal that will make for plenty of delicious leftovers, but only a few dishes.


Grocery List

(Organized by area of the market)

  • 1 pound andouille sausage (or other spicy sausage), cut into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 3/4 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 3/4 cup finely diced celery
  • 3/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
  • 2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

We're assuming you already have olive oil, a large onion, garlic, cayenne pepper (for the spice), and 10 ounces of dried pasta lying around (the recipe calls for penne, but we're betting other shapes would be equally delicious), but if you don't, add those to your list too!

With about 45 minutes to dinner, finely dice your onion, green pepper, and celery. Make sure your meats are ready, with the sausage sliced into 1/4 inch rounds, the chicken in 3/4 inch cubes, and the shrimp peeled and deveined. Mince 2 (or more, if you're feeling it) cloves of garlic. Get out a very large skillet (with a lid), and warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced sausage. As soon as it begins to render some of its fat, raise the heat and add the chicken. Saute them both until they just begin to brown.


Stir the fresh vegetables and spices into the sausage and chicken over medium heat. Sauté them until the vegetables soften. Crush the tomatoes and add them, along with their juices, to the pan. Simmer for about 10 minutes, partially covered.

Finally, add one cup of water, bring the pot to a low boil, and stir in the pasta. It should take about 12 minutes to cook, so at the 7-minute mark, add the shrimp and continue to simmer until the pasta is done and the shrimp is just cooked through. If you need to loosen up the dish a bit, add an extra 1/2 cup water during the last few minutes. Serve it up hot in bowls, and dig in!

Tags: Pastalaya, Dinner Tonight, One Pot Meals, Southern Cooking