Thursday, January 22, 2015

Food, Glorious Food

Tonight I get to attend a Neighborhood Council Annual Meeting.  I have to say, I'm looking forward to it a little.

The Council is sponsoring a tasting of all the restaurants in the area.  There will be pho, which I have never tried before, as well as a lot of other ethnic dishes from different places in the neighborhood.

Hubster and the rest of the family are not much on trying new food.  This is, I believe, one of the reasons Eldest Son and his wife came up with our yearly continental meal.  Not only does everyone have to try each unfamiliar dish, but they have to learn a little something along the way.  A most excellent idea!

(For instance, Uruguay, our country of choice this year, was the first country in the world to legalize marijuana.  We didn't know that until after the rice dish was already cooked, but there it is.)

This past week I got the culinary creative bug again.  Hubster hates when that happens.  If it isn't meat and potatoes and green beans and corn, it is looked upon with disdain before it is ever tasted. After a few cautionary bites, the new food is either eaten with gusto, or pushed around on the plate.

I hate when that happens.

This particular evening I tried out the recipe below, expecting the worst.  But I must say, not only did the picky eaters like it, they gorged on it!  The Boyfriend was there, and he ended up eating the greater part of the whole thing (three helpings) and took the rest home.

I think we could chalk this one up as a success.

Without further ado, let me share this veritable wonder with you!

Chicken and Penne with Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Sauce

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 C Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1-1/2 C half and half
dried or fresh garlic 
red pepper flakes
dried basil
large jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil

Note:  all spices are to taste.

Cook 1 lb (box) of penne pasta in boiling water.  While it's cooking, do the following:

Use oil from the jar of tomatoes (a couple of tablespoons) to caramelize as many tomatoes as you want to use (I use the whole jar).  Add garlic, basil and red pepper flakes and stir until the spices are aromatic and the tomatoes are brownish.

Remove tomatoes from the pan and add chicken to the remaining oil to saute until done.  Remove chicken and pour in half and half on medium to medium low heat.  Sprinkle cheese over the half and half and melt slowly, stirring constantly.  The sauce will thicken at this point.  Add tomatoes back into the pan, and simmer for a few minutes so the sauce really gets the flavor.  (My tomatoes kind of disintegrated.)  Taste the sauce to be sure spices are OK.  Try not to eat it all before the rest of the family gets some. 

Add the chicken back in and simmer a few minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce gets too thick, add a little of the pasta water to it to thin it out. You can either chop up the chicken or leave it whole.  We chopped it up so that it would be evenly distributed through the pasta.

Drain the pasta and pour the sauce and chicken over it, then get ready to die happy!

I think it would be OK to sub out some of the half and half for chicken broth, as this is a pretty high-fat dish.  You could also use 2% cheese.


Linds said...

Everyone here would eat this one. I will be adding it to the menu list for next week. Thanks!

Linds said...

We are all about high fat in this house. This could be why we are not stick insects.