Friday, February 5, 2010

Mmm Mmm Good!

Last weekend and again tonight, I made Pioneer Woman's Cajun Chicken Pasta. Move over East Side Mario, there's a new girl in town! I love ESM's Pasta Amatriciana or however you say/spell it, you know what I mean. I don't usually try pasta at home as I find it most times bland. This pasta kicks it up three or four notches. It is excellent leftover too. The recipe is below, with my comments!

PW's Cajun Chicken Pasta

3 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into Cubes
3 teaspoons Cajun Spice Mix, More To Taste
1 pound Fettuccine
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced (I diced my peppers and onion and used green and yellow, red were sold out)
1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced
½ whole Large Red Onion, Sliced
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
4 whole Roma Tomatoes, Diced
2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
½ cups White Wine (I didn't have, so I just replaced with more broth)
1 cup Heavy Cream (whipping cream to Canadians)
Cayenne Pepper To Taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
Salt To Taste
Chopped Fresh Parsley, To Taste
Do all the prep work before starting. All the chopping, measure out the liquids, get the pasta pot boiling and such. Once you get going with this, it moves pretty quickly as you are cooking over high heat.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain when pasta is still al dente; do not overcook!
Al dente is important here. No one likes mushy pasta, and even mushier leftovers! I get the pasta water boiling as I am heating the frying pan to start the chicken. When the chicken is cooked, I add the pasta. If I think the pasta is going to be done first, I will cook to very al dente and turn off the heat and allow it sit in the hot water for a few minutes till I am ready to use. It will finish cooking and not be all stuck together.

Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun spice over chicken pieces. Toss around to coat.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over high heat. Add half the chicken in a single layer; do not stir. Allow chicken to brown on one side, about 1 minute. Flip to the other side and cook an additional minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean plate.
Repeat with remaining chicken. Remove chicken, leaving pan on high heat.

Add remaining olive oil and butter. When heated, add peppers, onions, and garlic. (I added my garlic after a minute or two of the veggies being in there. I was afraid it would burn and burnt garlic is gross with a capital G.)
Sprinkle on remaining Cajun spice, and add salt if needed. Cook over very high heat for 1 minute, stirring gently and trying to get the vegetables as dark/black as possible. Add tomatoes and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Remove all vegetables from the pan. (Put them on the plate with the chicken)

With the pan over high heat, pour in the wine and chicken broth. Cook on high for 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Reduce heat to medium-low and pour in cream, stirring/whisking constantly. Cook sauce over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until cream starts to thicken the mixture. Taste and add freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, and/or salt to taste. Sauce should be spicy!

Finally, add chicken and vegetables to sauce, making sure to include all the juices that have drained onto the plate. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and hot. Add drained fettuccine and toss to combine.

Top with chopped fresh parsley and chow down! (Safeway was out of fresh parsley too.)
I forgot to mention that when I halved the recipe, it filled my 12 inch skillet. So if you are doing a full recipe, but sure to use something large enough to hold it!

1 comment:

  1. yummie how come you do not cook like that when iam THERE looks so good .