It’s almost time for Mardi Gras, and while I’ve not had the true experience of being in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, I’ve enjoyed many a fun food-filled trip in the Big Easy!
If you’ve never been, I recommend trying Commander’s Palace, one of the most well-known restaurants in the world, but definitely go at lunch and enjoy a 25 cent (yes, cents!), martini!
Be sure and get the BBQ shrimp, turtle soup, and bananas foster, too. Their famous shrimp recipe is on their website and it’s delicious!
Some of my other favorite restaurants include Luke’s, Broussard’s and Willie Mae’s – and don’t forget to get your beignets and coffee at Café du Monde!
Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, celebrates eating rich, fatty, and delicious foods before Lent begins. Typically, celebrations start about a week or two ahead of Fat Tuesday itself and are full of food, parades, costumes, and lots of beads!
If you’re in the Midwest and can’t make it to New Orleans, Soulard, right outside St. Louis has the second largest Mardi Gras celebration. I went with a friend in 2013, which now seems like a lifetime ago, but from what I recall, and photographic evidence, we had a great time! In 2017, The Chopping Block held a Mardi Gras party with some fabulous food and drinks, of course.
In the past few years though, thanks to the pandemic, I’ve been looking for ways to celebrate in my own kitchen. I came up with a Cajun Pasta dish that put all the classic Cajun flavors in one bowl of comfort food. This dish will have you enjoying Mardi Gras in 30 minutes, and you won’t even need a plane ticket!
Cajun Chicken Andouille Pasta
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Active time: 30 min
Total time: 30 min
8 oz penne pasta (or your favorite shape)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped (you can remove the seeds if you want it less spicy)
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
12oz chicken andouille sausage, sliced (you can also sub pork andouille, or sub/add 12oz of shrimp if that’s your style)
2 Tablespoons olive oil (or butter)
1-2 Tablespoons Spiceologist Black Magic
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup reserved pasta water
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced for garnish
1. Fill a pot of water for boiling the pasta, and turn on high heat. Don’t forget to salt it generously.
2. While you are waiting for the water to boil, chop the garlic and jalapeno, slice the peppers, onions, andouille, and scallions.
3. Once the water boils, add the pasta, and cook according to the package directions. Drain when done, and reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.
4. While the pasta cooks, in a medium skillet, over medium high heat, add olive oil, and sauté the andouille until it is browned on both sides, about 5-7 minutes.
5. Add the onions to the pan and sauté 2-3 minutes, until softened.
6. Add the bell peppers to the pan and sauté another 2-3 minutes.
7. Add the garlic and jalapeno, and sauté another minute until fragrant.
8. Stir in the Black Magic (or your other favorite seasoning) to taste.
9. Lower the heat to medium and add the heavy cream to the pan. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Cook 3-5 minutes until the cream slightly reduces.
10. Add the cooked pasta, toss for 1-2 min, and add pasta water as needed to get desired consistency.
11. Stir in Parmesan cheese.
12. Serve with sliced scallions and eat while wearing your best Mardi Gras beads!
After you’ve indulged in your delicious Cajun pasta, if you’re anything like me, you’ll want dessert. Another classic Fat Tuesday food, especially in Polish communities, is Paczki, or stuffed donuts!
I highly recommend making it your mission to try one (or a few) this March 1st! Better yet, join us on Sunday, February 27 at 11am CST for a virtual Paczki class and learn to make your own!
We also have a Hands-On Mardi Gras class on Thursday, March 3 at 6pm at the Mart. You'll make a celebratory meal of:
- Mixed Green Salad with Creole Mustard Vinaigrette
- Crab Cakes with Remoulade
- Gumbo with Shrimp and Andouille Sausage
- Bananas Foster Bread Pudding with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
The same class will be offered virtually on Friday, March 4 at 6:15pm CST. Join us from home to prepare the Cajun classics in your own kitchen!
If you’re looking for that Spiceologist Black Magic seasoning, need a new knife or cutting board for the slicing or chopping, or need some new cookware, come and visit our retail store. We’ll be open at Lincoln Square on Saturday, February 26 from 10am-5pm before we close for a few weeks as we give our store a facelift, but we’ll be starting our massive sale at the Merchandise Mart on Wednesday, March 2nd. Items will be up to 75% off so laissez les bon temps rouler!
Mardi Gras is the challenge for our private Facebook group members this week, so join, make some Mardi Gras food and show it off to inspire other home cooks.