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Why Blackened Chicken Belongs In More Of Your Pasta Dishes

Blackened chicken on Alfredo fettuccine pasta
Blackened chicken on Alfredo fettuccine pasta - Slatan/Shutterstock

While unfailingly exciting every single time, chicken in pasta is certainly nothing new. Blackened chicken, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. You're more likely to find it alongside white rice and fresh vegetables, offering a kick of heat that brightens the whole dish. All that magic is just as prominent when it's added to pasta but with a touch of newness that brings a different eating experience to some already familiar food.

Contrary to popular belief, blackened chicken isn't burnt. The charred-like edges come from a special Louisiana spice blend that includes garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, and dried herbs. Depending on how spicy or even smoky you want the spice blend to be, you can also include other Louisiana staples like Cajun spice or Creole spice in the mix. When cooked, it caramelizes into a crispy layer over the chicken's exterior, creating a delightful contrast with the tender, luscious sauce-drenched pasta.

Impressive in more ways than one, the blackened chicken also brings a unique richness with spicy, zesty, and herby nuances that liven up any pasta dish. Whether you've got a creamy Alfredo, a tangy puttanesca, or anything else in the endless pasta repertoire, blackened chicken is the unexpected flavor enhancer that takes it from good to incredible.

Read more: 12 Different Ways To Cook Chicken

Any Pasta Will Do!

A variety of dried pasta
A variety of dried pasta - Alvarez/Getty Images

The first step to a delicious dish of blackened chicken pasta, of course, is to blacken your chicken. You can either mix the seasoning yourself or use a store-bought package. Either one will do. Then, coat the protein with melted butter, give it a thorough spice rub, and pan-sear over medium heat or grill it until the surface is covered with a dark brown crust. Remember to leave some of the blackened seasoning aside to sprinkle into the pasta sauce later on.

Moving on to the pasta itself, the top candidate for a blackened chicken pairing is Alfredo pasta. It's a twist on the classic chicken Alfredo, inheriting the dish's original rich, tangy taste, while also layering in a fascinating complexity. Considering the many similarities between blackened seasoning and Cajun, best believe that blackened chicken will also fare quite nicely with creamy Cajun pasta. What ends up on the plate is a gorgeous mix of contrasting elements that work in perfect harmony with one another.

If you're not a fan of creamy pasta and just want something that leans more on the hearty side, reach for an all-time favorite instead: tomato sauce. Its tangy-sweet taste will have no problem complementing the blackened chicken's intense notes, creating a comfort dish that's also packed with big flavors. If there's anything else on the list, feel free to try it. It's a pretty safe bet when it comes to something as exquisite as blackened chicken.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.