My husband really love spicy food, so every couple of weeks I make something with a big kick. Like this Kickin’ Chicken Rigatoni. Sometimes you really just need to eat a meal that wakes you up a little. The star of this dish is the spicy cream sauce – full of jalapenos AND red pepper flakes. I’m not gonna lie – this dish is not for the faint of heart. But I will say, while it is spicy, it is also full of great flavors and you can really taste all of the ingredients. It’s not just melt your face off hot for the sake of being hot.
I used mozzarella cheese because it is very mild in flavor but gets really really creamy in sauces. This sauce is a little thicker than the ones I make with cheddar, but that helps keep the sauce on the pasta so you get the flavor all the way through the dish. If you wanted a cheese dip sauce, you could make the sauce up to the point of adding it to the sausage and serve it with some bread slices or pretzel bites!
The addition of the bacon, not only adds a layer of flavor but it brings a salty quality to the dish, which counters the heat from the peppers. I also used a mild chicken sausage that has a sweetness to help as well. This is a rather hearty bowl of pasta, so we didn’t have a side dish. Some bread would have been good for the kids to help with heat – and a glass of milk, lol. You could also do a green dinner salad with it.
Now Let’s Get Cookin’!
Kickin’ Chicken Rigatoni
- ½ lb Bacon cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1½ lb Rigatoni
- ½ Yellow Onion diced
- 1 4oz can Diced Jalapeno
- 1 Red Bell Pepper diced
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper diced
- 2 lb Chicken Sausage cut into ½-inch coins
- 4 tbsp Butter
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 tsp Basil
- 4 tbsp Flour
- 1 cup Chicken Broth
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- 1 cup Parmesan Cheese shredded
- 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese shredded
- Start water boiling for pasta.
- In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add bacon. Cook until crispy and remove to paper-towel covered plate. Reserve bacon grease.
- In same saute pan, add onions, jalapenos, and bell peppers. Let cook for 3 minutes, then add chicken sausage. Cook for 3 minutes then reduce heat to medium- low.
- Add pasta to boiling water and cook as directed on package. Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water.
- In a sauce pan over medium heat, add butter, garlic powder, basil and red pepper flakes. Once melted whisk in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Then whisk in chicken broth and cook for 2 minutes. Next whisk in heavy cream and cook for 2 minutes. Last, add cheese (one handful at a time) and cook until fully melted.
- Add cheese sauce to sausage and veggie pan and stir to combine. Let cook 5 minutes.
- In a shallow bowl, serve sausage sauce over top of cooked rigatoni. Sprinkle with bacon.
Estelle Forrest’s self-published first cookbook – Homemade on a Weeknight: A Family Cookbook – was created after a lot of playing around in the kitchen. You can purchase your own copy here:
Estelle self-published a second cookbook – Burgers on a Weeknight – recently. It has over 60 delicious burger creations! You can purchase your own copy here:
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