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Geoff Maddern’s Recipe for Cajun Chicken Penne

Peter 'Grubby' Stubbs
Article image for Geoff Maddern’s Recipe for Cajun Chicken Penne

Geoff Maddern’s Recipe for Cajun Chicken Penne

In my opinion there’s nothing better than cooking outside.  I love your barbeque basics, your snags ‘n chops – but a little variety is the spice of life!

I was challenged recently to produce a pasta dish cooked entirely on the barbeque.  When we downsized to an apartment a while back I purchased an electric Weber Pulse 2000 – mainly so I wouldn’t have to lug gas bottles around! The Casserole Dish from Q Cookware set works brilliantly on the Pulse so – challenge accepted!

I like to blend my own spice mixes.  This one includes a little Wing Dust – Kickin’ Cajun’ style but you could substitute for a touch of Cayenne and Chilli.  There is something special about Wing Dust though, that brings out the flavour!  I absolutely agree with Bob Hart that chicken thighs are preferable to breast – try a little of each if you like.

You could substitute Penne for any dry pasta – the recipe works best with short, unfilled pasta rather than, say, ravioli or tortellini or strand pasta like spaghetti or tagliatelle.  The pasta will cook in the barbeque using the absorption method – no need for extra pots!

Serves 4


  • 400 g Skinless Chicken breast or thigh – cut into 3cm cubes
  • 1 small Brown Onion – finely diced
  • 60 g Sundried Tomatoes – sliced into strips
  • 250 g Penne
  • 500 ml Chicken Stock
  • 150 g Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • Knob of Butter
  • Spring Onions to garnish
  • Rocket to serve

Spice Mix   

  • 1 heaped tsp Paprika
  • 1 heaped tsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 level tsp dried Thyme leaves
  • 1 level tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 level tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 level tsp Wing Dust – Kickin’ Cajun or ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper & ¼ tsp Chilli Powder



Preparation (12 minutes)

Preheat your Casserole Dish in the barbeque on medium high for 12 minutes (Don’t forget to detach the handles!)

Blend spices in a small bowl

Finely dice Onion and slice Spring Onions

Slice Sundried Tomatoes into thin strips

Cut Chicken into 3cm cubes and place in a plastic bag then add half of the Spice Mix and shake to coat (I use a supermarket fruit ‘n vege bag)

Cooking (30 minutes)

Drizzle olive oil into hot Casserole Dish

Add Onion and Sundried Tomatoes – distribute evenly and fry (hood down) for 3 minutes stirring occasionally

Add Chicken and fry (hood down) stirring occasionally until sealed for approximately 3 minutes

Add a knob of Butter and the remaining Spice Mix stir well and cook (hood down) for 2 minutes

Add Chicken Stock and stir

Add pasta and stir

Cover with Casserole Dish lid – vent in the open position and simmer (hood down), stirring every 5 minutes until the pasta is al dente having absorbed most of the stock.

Remove the Casserole Dish lid and stir in Cream Cheese.  Close the barbeque hood and simmer for about 2 minutes but do not let the sauce boil – it could split!

Reattach your handles and serve at the table garnished with Spring Onions alongside some rocket.


Enjoy with a nice glass of Rose’, a Pinot Gris or a nice cold Asahi! Bon Appetit!

Peter 'Grubby' Stubbs