Friday, September 29, 2006

Recipe of the Week

Southwestern Pasta Bake

1 pound penne rigate (ridged penne) or cavatappi (ridged corkscrew)
2 tablespoons oil
4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalepeno, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
3/4 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
salt and pepper

Preheat broiler to high and position the rack 8 inches from heat.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the boiling water and cook pasta until slightly undercooked-- a little chewy in the center.

While the water is coming to a boil, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the vegetable oil. Season the chicken with cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Add the seasoned chicken to the hot skillet and cook until lightly brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onions, garlic, and jalepenos and continue to cook for 5 minutes. While the chicken is cooking with the onions, make the cheddar sauce.

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter and add the flour to it. Cook for 1 to 2 mintes over moderate heat, then whisk in the milk. When the milk comes to a bubble, stir in the cheese, cilantro, and parsley with a wooden spoon. Season with a little salt and pepper and remove cheese sauce from the heat.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back into the large pot, add the contents of the chicken skillet and all of the cheddar sauce, and stir to combine. Transfer to a baking dish and place under the broiler until lightly brown.

4 servings

This recipe is from Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats book. Since I never watch the food network, I feel like I have missed out on the Rachael Ray phenomenon. I know some of you have issues with her perkiness and use of words like yumm-o (ahem, Laura and Leslie), but put your personal feelings aside and make this pasta dish for dinner. It is delicious!

When I made it, I only seasoned the chicken (I used breast tenderloins instead) with salt, pepper, and a little chili powder. I also left out the jalepenos. It still worked!

Also, I have to tell Jenny, my sister-in-law's sister-in-law, that the recipe she posted in her July archives for sweet pork burritos was delicious! Check it out.


  1. that girl does drive me crazy. her recipes are much easier to read than they are to watch, if you get me. i'll have to try that one out! thanks

  2. ya, one can only handle hearing "E.V.O.O." so many times in a thirty minute show, but her recipies are golden and she has one of the best jobs ever, so I can't be too annoyed - we'll be trying this on this weekend - look good.

  3. Rats, I just got back from the grocery store! This sounds yummy, but it will have to wait till next week. :) Thanks for posting it.
    I'm glad you liked the burritos. :)

  4. Thanks, Stephanie--I'm making this for my dinner group on Monday. Also, loved the Waikiki Meatballs from a couple months ago.


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