You Asked For It

Red Rocks pasta has a secret ingredient

A common lament from readers who send requests for restaurant recipes is that they’ve tried to reproduce their favorite dish, but end up with something that’s not the same as what they ate.

That was the case for Jennie Loyd. She’s been trying to make Salamone’s Chicken Cajun Pasta (now named for Eugene Robinson) from Red Rocks Café Bar & Bakery.

“There is a heat to the sauce that I’ve tried to re-create time and time again. I just can't quite get it.”

Restaurants do have their secret ingredients – and Red Rocks is no different. In this case, the “it” that has been eluding Loyd is 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning. It fires up the cream-based sauce that coats the pasta and leaves a little tingle on the back of the tongue.

Whether you buy premarinated chicken breasts or do it yourself, make sure the marinade is mild, such as an Italian herb marinade.

The dish comes together fairly quickly, so have all the ingredients ready to go. Turn on your kitchen ventilation, as the smell from the Cajun spices can become quite strong. Finally, you can personalize this dish. Substitute shrimp for chicken, tasso ham for the andouille sausage or use different pastas or onions.

Robin Domeier is the owner of Nibbles Personal Chef.