Spicy Cajun Pasta Deliciousness Thing I made

Based on a tasty thing they make at the Rio Grill in Carmel, CA… but they use prawns. My Tall Glass of Bourbon/husband does not like prawns, so I used andouille sausage. It worked very well! As usual, I just made this up as I went along. Of course I knew what I was doing ahead of time, but I don’t really measure shit. It tastes the way it should.

  • 1 box (about a pound) penne pasta, boiled in salted water just past al dente.
  • 12 oz heavy cream
  • 1 andouille sausage from your local fancy grocer with the meat counter that always makes you drool. Maybe two if they’re short.
  • 1 leek. Cut the dark green bits off and freeze them for soup stock at a later date. Chop up the light green and white bits into about 1/4 or 1/2 inch slices, then rinse them well. Apparently there can be dirt?
  • Three strips thick-cut bacon
  • Cayenne pepper (I did 9 parsimonious shakes)
  • 5-10 oz sweet peas, fine if from frozen, which you will forget until the end. 10 oz is too many, but by that point, you’re tired and you’ll just stir them all in because you’re tired.
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Salt and pepper (LOTS OF PEPPER) to taste

Ok. So I did this in phases, because I have a TBI and I wanted to be relaxed, not stressed. Here’s how I did it:

  1. Fry up the leeks with about 1 tablespoon butter (or bacon grease if you have some.) You want them to brown a bit but not burn. Medium high heat, about 4-6 minutes.
  2. Remove browned leeks from the pan and set them aside in a bowl or tupperware. Wish you had a spoonula.
  3. Cut the bacon in half lengthwise, then into 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch squares. You are basically makin’ your own bacon bits. Cook until very crispy, remove bacon bits and put them in the same container as the leeks. SAVE THE GREASE in another bowl or tupperware, you’ll need it.
  4. Cut the sausage into… you got it, 1/4-1/2 inch slices, then fry on medium or medium-high heat until browned but not burned. Give ’em the leek treatment, in other words. Cook, put them in the thingy with the leeks and bacon and set aside.
  5. Switch pans or take a break to let your pan cool off. When it’s no longer SEARING HOT, pour that delicious bacon grease back in with the delicious sausage grease, then add a tablespoon or two of flour. I know a normal roux is about 50/50, but you don’t want it to be that thick. Over low/medium heat, whisk the SHIT out of it until smooth. If it immediately starts yelling at you and clumping up, remove from heat and keep whisking. SLOWLY add cream a bit at a time, whisking it smooth in between pours. You keep whisking, I don’t care if Armageddon is happening outside, your job is to whisk until all the cream is incorporated.
  6. Over low heat, add cayenne and red pepper flakes. Both of these kinda intensify the longer they cook, so start with a few small shakes and then wait a few and add more spice if you want. But do it gradually. I’m a wimp, but this is so delicious, I don’t mind a bit of fire. Add the salt and pepper and WHISK motherfucker, WHISK.
    Once you’ve got your heat and salt at the right level, add the shiznit that I had you put aside (leeks, bacon, sausage.) Now you may stop whisking and switch to a SPOON! Or a spoonula.
  7. You HAVE been boiling pasta this whole time, right? Okay, RIGHT BEFORE you take the pasta off the stove to drain, get about 1 cup of that delicious pasta water and add it to your motherfuckin’ cream sauce. Stir stir stir. Drain pasta. Put the sauce in the pasta pot, wait for it to thicken a bit, then add your pasta back in.
  8. Taste again to make sure the spices are right. If they are, make yourself a bowl. Realize you forgot to add peas. Microwave green beans. Realize you cooked green beans instead of peas. Microwave peas and tell your spouse HEY I ACCIDENTALLY MADE YOU SOME GREEN BEANS. You hate green beans, he can have them. Once the peas are cooked, add them to the pasta. Remake your bowl.

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