Rich and creamy sauce with peppers, onions, and spicy smoky andouille sausage with Cajun spices and bold flavors make for a spicy and decadent pasta dinner. I love this spicy Cajun pasta for weeknight dinners.
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- Don't skip the long sauté time on the veggies, it makes them softer and gives the pasta a better final texture.
- It is better to reheat slowly in a sauté pan than in the microwave.
Fun fact - the "holy trinity" in Cajun cooking refers to the combination of yellow onion, green bell pepper, and celery. It is used as the base for many Cajun dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, and étouffée.
- Andouille sausage - Andouille is a smoked spicy Cajun sausage. If you have trouble finding it, try smoked sausage or kielbasa. Note that these options won't be spicy, so you may need to add extra cayenne pepper if you want the pasta to be spicier, or add some Cajun or Creole seasoning.
- Butter - I always recommend using a European butter for the best flavor. Kerry Gold is my favorite. All of the recipes on Feeding Our Faces are made with unsalted butter unless otherwise stated.
- Onion - You will need a medium onion for this recipe. Yellow onions are usually used in Cajun cuisine, but you can sub out sweet onion or white onion if that is what you have on hand.
- Bell peppers - feel free to use any combination of green, yellow, orange, or red bell peppers for this recipe. I love the flavor of red bell pepper but this pasta will still be delicious with the others. The combo of red and yellow bell peppers would be great!
- Garlic - always use fresh garlic!
- Half and half - You can substitute for whole milk. Pasta will come out slightly thinner, so you may have to reduce it for longer. I think heavy whipping cream is a little too heavy for this sauce, but if that is all you have you can dilute it and make your own half and half with equal parts milk and heavy cream.
- Chicken broth - I typically use a chicken base like Better Than Bouillon dissolved in water.
- Pasta - Any type of pasta will work with this recipe. I like penne pasta for this recipe.
Tips for making andouille sausage pasta
This pasta dish is fairly easy to make. The recipe is broken down into 3 parts: searing sausage, sautéing vegetables, and making the sauce.
First boil a large pot of water and cook the pasta according to package directions. Don't forget to salt the water! I like my pasta al dente. Reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water and set it aside for later.
Next sear the sausage. Preheat a large skillet on medium-high heat. You won't need olive oil for the sausage, as they are naturally oily and shouldn't stick to the pan, but you can add a bit if you want to. Sear sausage for a few minutes on each side. You want to develop a browned crust on the sausage. Set the sausage aside when you're done. You can put it on some paper towels to drain off some of the grease.
In the same pan, melt butter over medium heat. Sauté diced yellow onion, diced red and green pepper, and diced celery for about 15 minutes with ¼ cup of water. Scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan from the sausage as you stir. If vegetables are starting to brown, you can add a little more water and cook until vegetables are softened and water has evaporated. You want the vegetables to be as soft as possible before you make the sauce. Next add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes while stirring.
Love Cajun flavors? Check out this recipe for homemade Cajun seasoning blend to give your dishes a little kick.
Now to make the pasta sauce. Flour is used to thicken the sauce. First sprinkle the flour over the vegetables in the pan, and mix well to combine. Cook the flour for about a minute while stirring. Whisk in chicken broth, half and half, oregano, thyme, and cayenne pepper, stirring out any flour lumps. Stir cheese and sausage back in. Turn heat to low and reduce sauce until thickened. Note that sauce will continue to thicken when it is removed from heat and cools.
If you find your cream sauce has thickened too much, you can thin it with a little bit of chicken stock .
Lastly to serve, mix in pasta and some reserved pasta water and mix well. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Top with fresh parsley or thinly sliced green onions. You can also top with some freshly grated parmesan cheese.
How to reheat
The best way to reheat this pasta (and most cream based pasta sauces) is to slowly reheat in the pan. Add the pasta back to a sauté pan and slowly increase the heat to warm the pasta slowly while stirring. Heating the pasta too fast can cause the sauce to break (separate into fats and solids). You can add in a little more pasta water or half and half to help loosen the sauce if it is too thick. This method will be better than reheating in the microwave.
- To make this pasta milder, you can substitute the spicy andouille sausage with regular smoked sausage.
- For a healthier pasta, you can substitute the andouille for chicken sausage.
- To add in some extra veggies, stir in 1 drained can of diced tomatoes.
- Make it extra cheesy by melting some cheddar cheese into the sauce.
- Give it an extra spicy kick with pepper jack instead of Monterey jack cheese.
- Make it a Cajun shrimp pasta instead by adding shrimp in addition to or with the andouille.
- Add extra protein by adding pieces of cooked chicken breasts to the pasta. See this post on how to make perfect chicken breasts every time.
Do you love Cajun food as much as I do? Check out these other Cajun recipes!
- Cajun Blackening Seasoning
- Easy Cajun Blackened Shrimp
- Sous Vide Cajun Turkey Breast
- Spicy Cajun Garlic Aioli
Andouille sausage is a Cajun style pork sausage made with garlic, spices, and cayenne pepper. It is usually smoked.
Yes, andouille sausage does have some spice to it. If you want your pasta to be less spicy, you can omit the cayenne pepper.
This pasta is thickened with flour. Make sure to cook the flour for a minute or two before adding broth and half and half. Whisk the liquid in well to mix out any flour lumps.
Yes. If you can't find andouille you can substitute it for kielbasa or smoked sausage.
I'd love to see your photos of this dish! Tag #feedingourfaces and @feedingourfaces on Instagram!
Creamy Cajun Andouille Sausage Pasta
- 10 ounces andouille sausage sliced into ¼ inch coins and halved
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium yellow onion finely diced
- ½ red bell pepper finely diced
- ½ green bell pepper finely diced
- 2 ribs celery finely diced
- 5 cloves fresh garlic minced
- 1 ½ cups half and half
- 1 cup chicken broth or 1 teaspoon chicken base and 8 ounces of water
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese shredded
- 4 ounces parmesan cheese freshly grated
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- green onions or parsley for topping
- pasta of choice
- BOIL: Boil pasta according to package directions, reserving ½ cup of pasta water.
- SEAR: Sear sausage in a preheated pan on medium heat, a few minutes on each side developing a browned crust. Work in batches to not overcrowd the pan. Set aside on a paper towel when done.
- SAUTÉ: Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Wilt onions, peppers, and celery for 15-20 minutes with ¼ cup of water until vegetables are softened. If vegetables are starting to brown, turn the heat down and add another ¼ cup of water and cook until water has evaporated. Add garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes while stirring.
- SAUCE: Sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour over vegetables and mix well, cooking for 1-2 minutes while stirring. Whisk in 1 cup chicken broth*, 1 ½ cup half and half, 1 teaspoon oregano, ½ teaspoon thyme, and ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper to the pan and stir to combine, whisking out all flour lumps.* Stir in cheese and mix until melted. Turn down heat to low and simmer until sauce has reduced and thickened.* Stir andouille back in. Add in pasta and some reserved pasta water. Mix well to combine.
- SERVE: Serve hot and top with green onions or parsley.
- Instead of chicken broth, I like using a chicken base dissolved in water.
- Make sure to cook the flour for a minute or two before adding liquid. Whisk well to stir out all the lumps.
- Sauce will continue to thicken when it is removed from heat and as it cools.
- If your sauce becomes too thick, slowly stir in a little bit more half and half of chicken broth.
Any questions? I'd love to help! Drop a comment below or send me an email!