Blackened Chicken Pasta

Laissez les bon temps rouler…Let the good times roll! Mardi Gras season culminates with Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and Lenten season, generally a time of fasting or cutting back. So why not take advantage of this day of debauchery by indulging in this sinful dish. When I think of cajun cooking one thing always pops into my head immediately…BLACKENED!!! So that’s what I did to the chicken for this spicy, creamy, delectable pasta dish. However, if you’re not a huge fan of heat, just cut back on the blackening seasoning and cayenne. The poblano peppers are a mild pepper and will not contribute to the heat in this recipe.

Blackened Chicken Pasta

Ingredients: 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips
2 poblano peppers
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 bunch scallions, sliced on a bias (reserve some for garnishing)
1 pound dried fettuccine
1 stick unsalted butter, separated
1 shallot, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup blackening seasoning
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt for pasta water

Directions: Roast the poblano peppers by either placing them directly over a gas range until charred over the entire body of the pepper or by broiling them in the oven until they are the same way. Set aside to cool. When cooled, peel the charred skin off the pepper, de-seed and slice into thin strips about one inch in length.

Seasoning chicken with blackening seasoning and cayenne and toss to coat (no salt is necessary due to the salt in the blackening seasoning.) Heat 2 Tablespoons butter and 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat in a sauté pan until butter is melted. Add chicken and cook through (about 5 minutes on each side.)

Cook the fettuccini in a pot of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente. Drain in a colander, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the rest of the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until tender. Add heavy cream and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Return the pasta to the pot it was cooked in, set over medium-high heat along with the reserved cooking liquid. Add the butter-cream mixture and 3/4 cup of the Parmesan, poblano peppers, diced tomatoes and scallions and toss to combine thoroughly. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and garnish with reserved scallions. Serve immediately.

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