Rasta Pasta with Jerk Chicken

November 11, 2022

Toss penne with a creamy jerk-infused sauce for this Jamaican pasta dish. Bell peppers lend color. We add chicken, but try shrimp, too!


rasta pasta jerk chicken
  • 1 tbsp Walkerwood Hot Jerk Seasoning (Buy Now)
  • 1/2 tsp Grace Browning (Buy Now)
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 small Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper
  • 5 to 6 stems of thyme, leaves removed
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • For the chicken
  • 1 lime
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins, sliced into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 heaping tablespoon green seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons neutral oil, like avocado or canola

For the pasta

  • 8 ounces penne
  • 4 teaspoons neutral oil, to cook chicken and vegetables 
  • 1/2 green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, leaves removed
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


              • Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt to the water to help flavor the pasta as it cooks. (1 tablespoon of salt for every 2 quarts of water.)
              • In a food processor add the onion, garlic, Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, thyme, and water. Pulse until the texture is slightly smooth and thick.
              • Put the chicken pieces into a large mixing bowl. 
              • Roll the lime on the countertop to soften. Slice in half and squeeze the juice over the chicken. You can mix the lime halves with the chicken and leave it until you’re ready to rinse. Fill the bowl with water just until it covers the chicken. Using a wooden spoon or tongs, stir the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in the acidic water for 15-20 minutes.
              • Gently drain the water out of the bowl. Fill the bowl of chicken with fresh cold water and gently drain again. Repeat this process twice to remove the lime and any slime the chicken might have. Pat chicken dry with paper towels.
              • Add the hot jerk seasoning, green seasoning, browning sauce, and oil to the bowl of chicken. Massage the seasoning into meat using your hands or tongs. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let the chicken marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes or up to overnight.
              • Once the water has come to a rolling boil, add the dry pasta and cook, uncovered for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep the heat at medium-high for a rolling boil. Drain pasta in a colander, add drained pasta back to the pot and drizzle in a little oil to keep from sticking while you make the sauce and cook the chicken. 
              • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
              • Take the chicken out of the fridge, remove plastic wrap. In a deep non-stick skillet over medium heat, add 2 teaspoons of the oil. Using a pair of tongs place chicken in the pan, leaving excess marinade behind. Sauté about 10 minutes until the chicken is browned and the seasoning has dried onto the meat, turning the chicken occasionally. Chicken should read 165 degrees F if using a thermometer or juices should run clear when done. Remove from the pan and. Set aside.
              • Add a little more oil to the skillet. 
              • Add 2 more teaspoons to the skillet. Add the peppers, onion, and garlic. Sauté until tender, but still crisp, about 5 minutes. The peppers should still retain their color and not look dull. If you pierce with a fork the pepper should still have some give to it. Add the chicken back into the pan with the vegetables and toss to combine.
              • Add the heavy cream, salt, black pepper, and paprika. Let the cream simmer for 5 minutes. You’ll know it’s simmering when small bubbles appear on the surface. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes until the cheese melts.
              • Remove from the heat and rest a bit, then serve:
              • Remove from the heat and let the pasta rest for 2 minutes so the pasta can absorb the flavors of the sauce. Serve hot!  
              • Store leftover pasta in an airtight container with a lid in the fridge for up to 3 days. When reheating, I recommend not overheating because the cheese can melt too much and become oily.
              • Enjoy
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