Chipotle Chicken Pasta with Sun-dried Tomato Cream Sauce

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First and foremost, I would like to state that this recipe has been inspired by Julia’s Chicken and Broccoli Pasta with Sun-dried Tomato Cream Sauce which i would recommend you guys to check out for step-by-step directions.

Now without further ado,

Ingredients for the pasta and sauce:

  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small jar (3-4 oz) sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream (I used Olper’s cream)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
  • 500 grams penne rigate pasta
  • 240 grams black olives
  • 2 tablespoon dry basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 2 cup reserved cooked pasta water (or more)

Ingredients for Chipotle Chicken

  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1.5 lemons, juiced
  • 1 handful fresh clinatro, chopped
  • 1.5 tablespoon Sacla Italia
  • 2 teaspoon of Five Spices
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

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Directions for Chipotle Chicken:

You can see that I used Sacla Italia instead of Chipotle as I’ve mentioned earlier. The fact of the matter is that I couldn’t find it in the two leading supermarkets in Karachi, Imtiaz and Naheed. It might be available at Shazz (near Stadium Road) but I haven’t been there since ages so, yeah. However, there was not much difference between these two sauces and if you don’t find Chipotle you can always opt for Sacla Italia.

Anyways, in a large bowl combine the halved chicken, lemon juice, cilantro and Sacla Italia. In a small measuring cup or bowl, combine the five spices and the vegetable oil. Pour over top of the chicken and toss everything to coat. If you want, you can refrigerate it for 30 minutes. I on the other hand, cooked it immediately.

In a deep skillet, heat up two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium to medium high. I adjust the heat through out so the chicken doesn’t burn to a crisp. Once the pan is hot, work in batches by adding two chicken breast halves in the pan at a time. Cook for about 5-6 minutes per side {or until fully cooked} and then place the cooked breasts on a nearby plate and continue with the rest of the chicken.

Once cooled, slice and chop the chicken into pieces and continue to chop until they’re smaller bite-size pieces.

Do NOT clean the skillet. I prefer using one utensil throughout the dish which is more fun since all the spices get diffuse into each other properly.

For the pasta:

Cook the pasta according to the packet’s instruction and then drain the cooked pasta water, reserving it for later. Trust me you’ll need ALL of it.

For the sauce: 

In the skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil reserved from the sun-dried tomatoes jar. Add garlic and sun-dried tomatoes {drained from oil} and saute for 1 minute until garlic is fragrant. You’ll have to work quickly now. Remove the skillet from the oven and slice up the sun-dried tomatoes into smaller pieces. Place the skillet back on the oven and add cheese in batches, constantly stir or else it would end up having a chewing gum texture, and also add cream and milk simultaneously. I’d recommend you to have a partner working with you over here since three things are needed to be done at once.

Finally,

Add the cooked chicken and pasta in batches while constantly stirring. If the consistency is getting thick, pour in the pasta water generously. Don’t add the whole 500 grams of pasta in one go. I added 250 grams only at that point and then 250 grams of it later at night because my skillet would be over-flooded.  That way I had to half the whole ingredients which wasn’t much of a problem, just reserving 1 cup of cheese and 1/2 of chopped chipotle chicken and olives too. The rest I added in whole numbers.

I think that’s pretty much it. I seasoned the dish with some chopped up cliantro to just get the greenery in there.

Enjoy! 

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