Spicy Chicken, Shrimp & Sausage Pasta

Editor’s note: This column originally ran in the January 18, 2013 issue of the Banner. 

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When we go out for Italian food, the hubby typically chooses white sauces over red, especially if he can find a dish with some spicy Cajun or Creole kick to it. White sauces are typically very high in fat and tough to lighten up without sacrificing flavor. But when I saw an idea for a low-fat Alfredo sauce in a cooking magazine, I decided to give it a try and put my own New Orleans-style spin on it.

Even though I don’t care for Alfredo sauce, I really liked this dish. The sauce is quite flavorful but without the excessive heaviness. And with the spicy seasoning and all the different meats and vegetables, there are so many interesting things going on. To say that the hubby adored this would be an understatement. It’s a regular staple at our house, with highly coveted leftovers.

This is typically a weekend meal for us because it does require a fair amount of prep work. However, the cooking itself goes very quickly. It’s also a great dish for entertaining. It’s sort of like the loaves and fishes; it stretches to feed a crowd. Not to mention that with all the colors, it’s so gosh-darn pretty to look at.

Feel free to make ingredient substitutions. I typically use a spicy, New Orleans-style sausage like andouille, but any smoked sausage will do. And I had originally planned to add peas, but the hubby hates them. In exchange for not using peas, he’s more than happy to eat any lost shrimp that find their way onto my plate.