Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Mexican-Style Chicken with Penne

Yah, you know how I said I was going to learn to bake bread this week? Hasn't happened. What HAS happened is lots and lots of ice cream. (I blame Mr. Lebovitz.) Lest you think I've fallen into the arms of my boyfriend, Ice Cream, in my spouse's absence, I'd like to say that I meant to make Guinness ice cream for the Super Bowl, but it didn't happen... and since I already had my ice cream maker attachment in the freezer... I thought I'd take advantage of it. :)

I've made the executive decision to wait to photograph and share with you until my husband comes home. Otherwise, I might eat all the evidence. And it would be soooo worth it. (Should you feel the need for ice cream made at home, I can't suggest the Peanut Butter or Roasted Banana flavors enough.) To top them off, I'll make DL's Classic Hot Fudge later in the week. :)

Anyway, enough about ice cream - let's talk about Mexican-Style Chicken with Penne, shall we? This dish has made me a chicken thigh convert. I'd always shunned them, because thighs are dark and weird and usually hard to get to. I'm lazy, therefore, I like chicken breasts, right? Not anymore. The thigh meat was so tender and delicious, I considered reserving all the leftovers for my repeated weekday lunches. I didn't, though, I shared with Dave, cause thats the nice wife I am. (But I won't tell if you choose to hoard this.) This meal fed two adults, with seconds, and two lunches each.

The only changes I made were to add extra corn, an extra chipotle or two, and some extra spoonfuls of adobo. Those quantities are really up to you and your personal love/hate of smokey spiciness.

The whole thing came together really quickly and in a way that felt like cheating. Meaning, how is it that in almost no time at all, this amazing dinner ready for us to fall in love with? Science is crazy, sure, but this is magic. The cheese and cilantro are key, so even if you have to use a different cheese, don't leave it out.

*Edit: O yah! Pop over to Joey's site, 80 Breakfasts, for the HHDD #17: Pizza Roundup and your chance to vote!

Mexican-Style Chicken with Penne
c/o Food and Wine Magazine, February 2008

Adding a small amount of canned chipotle chiles in adobo (available at most supermarkets) makes a basic tomato sauce smoky and complex. Finishing the dish with queso blanco and chopped cilantro leaves intensifies the Latin flavor.

3/4 pound penne rigate
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 large garlic clove, minced
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 large chipotle in adobo sauce, seeded and minced, plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/4 pound queso blanco or mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated (1 1/3 cups)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook until al dente. Drain the penne.

Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add it to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat until the onion is softened and the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, chipotle and adobo sauce and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the corn, season with salt and pepper and cook until the corn is heated through, about 1 minute.

Add the penne and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the sauce and toss to coat. Add 1 cup of the queso blanco and toss. Transfer the pasta to bowls, sprinkle with the remaining queso blanco and the cilantro and serve.


teeth whiteners said...

This looks delicious, I will be giving it a try. I think I will substitute my homemade salsa as opposed the the tomatos. This will add a little kick!

Deborah said...

I can't wait to hear about the ice cream! I need to get my ice cream maker out...

This chicken sounds wonderful. I converted to thighs awhile back. And although I still use breasts, I much prefer the thighs. So much more flavor!

MrsPresley said...

this looks great!

i just joined the DB this month, just checking out everyone else’s blogs, wanted to say hello :)

Kevin said...

This pasta sounds both quick and tasty. The sweetness of the corn would balance the heat of the chopotle nicely.

Connie said...

I just made this tonight and it was a huge hit!

My DH has instructed me to go through your blog with a fine tooth comb and find more fabulous recipes!!