Rasta Pasta

published Nov 22, 2021
Rasta Pasta Recipe

Rasta pasta is made irresistible with jerk seasoning and jerk chicken.

Serves4 to 6

Prep15 minutes

Cook25 minutes

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a Caribbean creamy pasta with jerk chicken sliced on top
Credit: Sahara Bohoskey

Rasta pasta isn’t just a fun recipe name — it’s a bridge between classic Jamaican cooking and Western influences widely shaped by the diaspora of Caribbean peoples. I didn’t grow up with this recipe, but I did grow up with jerk chicken, jerk seasoning, and my mum’s jerk fish stew with rice and beans. When I was asked to create this recipe, my ears perked up.

For someone who wants lots of flavor with little effort, this recipe delivers, thanks to the power of the jerk sauce (goodness, does it pack a punch!). It’s essentially a dish made for the weeknight home cook. Chicken is used here, but shrimp or fish would also be also great; or you could skip the protein all together. Because it requires fewer than 10 ingredients and comes together within 30 minutes, I urge you to not walk or skip but run to the grocery store to make it for dinner tonight.

What Is Rasta Pasta Made Of?

Rasta pasta is made from jerk seasoning, bell peppers, cream, and pasta. The colors of the dish are meant to reflect the colors of the Jamaican flag: yellow pasta, blackened jerk chicken, and green bell peppers and/or cilantro.

What Type of Pasta Should I Use for Rasta Pasta?

You can use any short, dried pasta like a penne, fusilli, or rigatoni. Long noodles are not preferred, due to the awkwardness when eating long-cut strips of bell peppers, slices of chicken breast, and swirls of noodles. 

Credit: Sahara Bohoskey

Rasta Pasta Recipe

Rasta pasta is made irresistible with jerk seasoning and jerk chicken.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1 1/2 pounds

    boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 to 3)

  • 1/4 cup

    plus 1 tablespoon store-bought wet Jamaican jerk seasoning, preferably Walkerswood Jamaican Jerk Seasoning - Mild, divided

  • 1 pound

    bell peppers, any color (2 to 3)

  • 1/4 bunch

    fresh cilantro

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 pound

    dried penne or fusilli pasta

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsalted butter

  • 3/4 cup

    heavy cream

  • Finely grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Place 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts and 1/4 cup of the jerk marinade in a large zip-top bag. Massage the marinade into the chicken and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, core and seed 1 pound bell peppers, then slice into 1/2-inch strips. Finely chop the leaves from 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro until you have 1/4 cup.

  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels; discard the marinade. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the chicken and cook until blackened with a dark crust underneath, 7 to 8 minutes. Flip and cook until the second side is blackened and the chicken is cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board. Reserve the skillet, no need to wash.

  3. Add 1 pound dried penne to the boiling water and cook until al dente according to package instructions. Drain.

  4. Melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in the reserved skillet over medium heat. Add the bell peppers and scrape up any blackened bits from the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon. If the blackened bits don’t release from the bottom of the pan, add 1 to 2 teaspoons water to loosen. Cook until bell peppers are softened, 6 to 8 minutes.

  5. Add 3/4 cup heavy cream and the remaining 1 tablespoon jerk seasoning and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook until the sauce is slightly thickened and can coat the back of the spoon, about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the chicken across the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

  6. Add the pasta and cilantro to the skillet and stir to combine. Taste and season with kosher salt as needed. Serve the pasta topped with the chicken and grated Parmesan cheese.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Although this pasta is best served immediately, leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.