Monday, April 28, 2008

Thai peanut chicken pasta

Thai peanut chicken pasta
From: Taxi78Cab

2 chicken breasts
6 oz whole grain penne
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup soy sauce (I prefer the "lite" kind.)
1/3 cup veggie oil
1 red, yellow or orange pepper (Not green! They taste different.)
Shredded carrots (I like the pre-shredded ones... so I'm lazy. Feel free to shred your own if you're sitting around just looking for some boring, tiring task to do.), a couple handfuls
2 scallions, chopped
Snow peas or sugar snap peas, again a couple handfuls or to taste
Cilantro, chopped (optional, but I definitely recommend including it)
Peanuts for garnish and to add a nice crunch. I wouldn't leave these out either.

In a large pot, bring water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water. Yes, this is important. As our Food Network friends like to point out, it's the only chance you have to season the pasta itself. Probably a tablespoon or so of salt.

Chop the pepper, scallions, etc.

Combine the PB, soy sauce, and veggie oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. As the PB melts, stir it in all together. Add the chicken and cook for ~5 minutes or so on a side. (The PB/soy mix will dry out. That's ok.)

When the water boils, add the pasta and stir so it doesn't clump. Set a timer for 8 minutes.

When it's been cooking for ~5 and the chicken's browned on both sides, scoop about 3/4 cup or so of the pasta water (It contains lots of starch.) from the boiling pasta (carefully!) and mix it in to the chicken, PB, soy and stir to combine. See? It's making a nice, peanut-y sauce!

Drain the pasta. (Before you do that, check the sauce... if it needs more liquid, add some more pasta water before you drain it. You can add a little more PB or soy at this point if needed.) Toss the pasta with a little olive or veggie oil.

Check the chicken to make sure it's cooked through. If you have a probe thermometer, get it to 160. If not, just slice the chicken and see if it's still pink in the middle. When it's done, remove it to a plastic cutting board.

Add the carrots, peppers, peas, and scallions to the sauce. If you have other veggies that you want to toss in, that's fine too.

Cut the chicken into strips. Add back to the veggies and sauce.

Stir in the pasta. Add the cilantro at the very last minute (so it doesn't wilt too much). Serve it up and top with peanuts.

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