30-Minute Dinner/ Chicken Recipes/ Dinner/ meat/ pasta

Jerk Chicken Pasta (Rasta Pasta)

2 April 2022 By Aleksandra

Jerk chicken pasta is a delicious 30-Minute pasta dish, also called rasta pasta. This Jamaican-inspired pasta is super easy to make and so flavorful. It’s made with well-seasoned chicken, crunchy bell peppers, and cheesy creamy sauce. You’ll come for seconds!

Jerk chicken pasta in a pan.

History behind this dish

Other than the name may suggest, this is not a Jamaican recipe, but rather a Jamaican-Italian fusion dish. It was created by a Jamaican Chef Lorraine Washington in 1985.

Chicken jerk pasta or Rasta Pasta is made with chicken, bell peppers, and creamy sauce with parmesan cheese.

Why is this dish called rasta pasta? This pasta dish was requested by Jamaican construction workers. When they saw the red, yellow, and green colors of bell peppers and tagliatelle pasta, they insisted it should be called rasta pasta.

Below you will find information about the ingredients and how to prepare the recipe. For the measurements and detailed instructions scroll down to the printable recipe card.

Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make this dish:

Labeled ingredients for Jerk chicken pasta.
  • Chicken breast – shrimp would also be delicious in this recipe.
  • Jerk seasoning – this is a traditional Jamaican seasoning – it’s very flavorful and spicy. If you’re sensitive to heat, make sure to add less seasoning, you can always add some more when the dish is ready. I usually add 1 1/4 tablespoons to this recipe for my heat level but this would be too spicy for my kids. If you like spicy/hot dishes, 1 1/2 tablespoons would be too little. Adjust the amount of seasoning to your preferences. I used the Badia brand, spiciness can vary depending on the brand.
  • Bell peppers – preferably colorful
  • Green onions – are not pictured because I haven’t found them in the store that day! they are optional
  • Penne pasta – you can also use other medium-sized pasta-shaped such as spirals (fusilli)
  • For the sauce: heavy cream (you could also use coconut milk) and chicken broth
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Lemon juice – adds a refreshing flavor to the sauce
  • Pasta cooking water – thickens the sauce. If you forgot to reserve it (which often happens to me), you can add corn starch slurry (made with 1/2 teaspoon corn starch and 1 tablespoon cold water) to the sauce.

You could also add minced garlic to the sauce (cook it briefly for 30 seconds along with green onions). I omitted it because the Jerk seasoning already adds so much flavor to the dish and I didn’t think it was necessary. Green onions are optional for the same reason.

How to make it step by step

Pasta is being strainer on a spider strainer. Prepared ingredients for Jerk chicken pasta on a wooden board.

STEP 1: Cook the pasta al dente according to the package instructions (it should have a bite to it).

Reserve about 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water.

STEP 2: Prepare all the ingredients: Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick strips, cut bell peppers into thin strips, grate the Parmesan on the small holes of a box grater. Cut the white parts of green onions into thin slices and the green part into large chunks.

Rub the chicken with the Jerk seasoning, salt, and pepper.

Chicken breast stripes are being pan-fried. Bell peppers cut into stripes in a pan.

STEP 3: Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 1-2 minutes without stirring, letting the chicken brown, then cook, stirring, until the chicken is cooked through and browned. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

STEP 4: Add the bell peppers and green onions. Cook over high heat just briefly, until bell peppers are browned (don’t cook them until soft).

Bell peppers with a cream sauce in a pan. Cooked chicken, parmesan, bell peppers and sauce in a pan.

STEP 5: Add the heavy cream, pasta cooking water, and chicken broth. Cook for a couple of minutes over medium heat until the sauce is thickened and bell peppers soft.

STEP 6: Add the chicken back to the pan, add grated parmesan, and cooked pasta. Stir everything together until well combined. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

Enjoy!

Storage

This pasta dish reheats very well. You can store it in the fridge for up to 4 days. I usually reheat it in a non-stick pan.

More quick pasta recipes

Jerk chicken pasta on a green plate. Frying pan in the background.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Jerk Chicken Pasta (Rasta Pasta)

Jerk chicken pasta is a delicious 30-Minute pasta dish, also called pasta rasta. This Jamaican-inspired pasta is super easy to make and so flavorful. It’s made with well-seasoned chicken, crunchy bell peppers, and cheesy creamy sauce. You’ll come for seconds!
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Jerk chicken pasta in a frying pan.
Print Recipe

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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 539kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb penne pasta 225g
  • 1 lb (450g) chicken breast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Jerk seasoning or more, to taste
  • 3 bell peppers
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 tablespoons frying oil
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream 30-36%
  • 1/4 cup pasta cooking water
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth or pasta cooking water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 70g
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta al dente according to the package instructions (it should have a bite to it). Reserve about 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water.
  • Prepare all the ingredients: Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick strips, cut bell peppers into thin strips, grate the Parmesan on the small holes of a box grater. Cut the white parts of green onions into thin slices and the green part into large chunks.
  • Rub the chicken with the Jerk seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 1-2 minutes without stirring, letting the chicken brown, then cook, stirring, until the chicken is cooked through and browned. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  • Add the bell peppers and green onions. Cook over high heat just briefly, until bell peppers are browned (don’t cook them until soft).
  • Add the heavy cream, pasta cooking water, and chicken broth. Cook for a couple of minutes over medium heat until the sauce is thickened and bell peppers soft.
  • Add the chicken back to the pan, add grated parmesan, and cooked pasta. Stir everything together until well combined. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Jerk seasoning is spicy so you can add less seasoning if you’re sensitive to heat. You can always add more when the dish is ready. I’m usually adding 1 1/4 tablespoons of seasoning for my heat level, but this would be too spicy for my kids. If you like spicy/hot dishes, 1 1/2 tablespoons would be too little. Adjust the amount of seasoning to your preferences. I used the Badia brand, spiciness can vary depending on the brand.
  • You could also add minced garlic to the sauce (cook it briefly for 30 seconds along with green onions). I omitted it because the Jerk seasoning already adds so much flavor to the dish and I didn’t think it was necessary. Green onions are optional for the same reason.
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/4 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Jamaican-inspired
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