Jambalaya's cousin, pastalaya has become extremely popular in Louisiana according to my brother, a relatively recent transplant to Baton Rouge. The same flavors of jambalaya with pasta instead of rice, this makes for a hearty one-pot meal. —inpatskitchen
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Inpatskitchen is a long-time Food52er from Michigan.
WHAT: A lightning-fast, filling dish to make when you're in need of warming.
HOW: This is an exercise in adding a lot of things to one pot. Stir and simmer, and 30 minutes later, dinner is served.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We never thought jambalaya had the potential to be much more comforting than it already is, but this dish proves us wrong. Saucy, warming, and studded with pasta, this is how we'll take ours from now on. —The Editors
andouille sausage (or other spicy smoked sausage), cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
Coat a very large skillet (about 14 inches in diameter) with a lid with the olive oil. On medium heat, warm the oil and add the sliced sausage. After the sausage begins to render some of its fat, raise the heat and add the chicken. Sauté until the sausage and chicken just begin to brown a bit.
Stir the onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, paprika, thyme, basil, oregano, and cayenne (if using) into the sausage and chicken and sauté over medium heat until the vegetables soften. Crush the tomatoes and add them, along with their juices, to the pan. Simmer for about 10 minutes, partially covered.
Add one cup of the water, bring up to a low boil, and stir in the pasta.
The pasta should take about 12 minutes to cook, so at the 7-minute mark, add the shrimp and continue to simmer until the pasta is al dente and the shrimp is just cooked through. If you need to loosen the dish up a bit, add that extra 1/2 cup of water during the last few minutes.
I think I get my love for food and cooking from my mom, who was an amazing cook. She would start baking and freezing a month before Christmas in order to host our huge open house on Christmas afternoon. I watched and I learned...to this day I try not to procrastinate when it comes to entertaining.
My cooking style is pretty much all over the place, although I'm definitely partial to Greek and Italian cuisine. Oh yes, throw a little Cajun in there too!