The other night I had a craving for some chicken and pasta so I roasted some Cajun spiced chicken breasts in the oven and served up a creamy, velvety rigatoni on the side.
There’s no getting around it, this is the perfect way to cook chicken breast; it might be a bit easier to slice up the chicken and toss it around a pan but let me just say, if you haven’t tried roasting the whole breast in the oven you really need to give it a go. It turns out deliciously tender as long as you use a decent amount of oil and don’t leave it in for too long.
500g chicken breasts, skinned and boned
Cajun spice mix
Grapeseed or olive oil
200g creme fraiche or sour cream
50g grated Parmesan cheese
A good handful spring onions, fresh basil and continental parsley, chopped roughly
Zest from one lemon
Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
Cajun spice mix:
2 tspns freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tspn sea salt
1/2 tspn chilli flakes
1/4 tspn cayenne pepper
1 tspn sweet paprika
1/4 tspn onion powder
1/4 tspn garlic powder
1/2 tspn dried oregano leaves
1/4 tspn dried thyme leaves
Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
Combine Cajun seasoning ingredients in a small bowl. I often make more than I need and store it in a zip lock sandwich bag in the cupboard with the other spices until I use it again. You could also experiment with your own measurements according to your own taste.
Trim chicken breasts of fat. Rub over a generous amount of grapeseed oil and sprinkle with Cajun seasoning on both sides. If you have time, store covered in the fridge for a couple of hours to marinate.
Place whole chicken breasts on a baking dish lined with baking paper. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked inside and slightly browned outside (this will depend on your oven). Be careful not to overcook. You could always use a meat thermometer if you prefer.
Cook pasta until al dente in boiling, salted water (usually takes between 10-12 minutes). Once pasta has cooked, drain, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water. Place back in saucepan and add creme fraiche, cheese, herbs, seasoning and lemon zest – if it needs a bit more moisture or you’re still waiting for the chicken, add a splash of pasta water to moisten it. Continue to heat on a low temperature until hot.
Remove chicken breasts from the oven. Allow to rest on clean plate covered with foil for 5 minutes. Slice using tongs and a sharp knife and place on top of pasta to serve.