Creamy Red Pepper and Garlic Pasta with Blackened Chicken

Whenever I ask Chase what he wants for dinner the answer is almost always pasta. He doesn’t care what kind, he doesn’t even care if it has meat in it(which is a big deal for him), it’s just gotta be carbs that have been boiled in water. It’s not hard to please that guy. This recipe is one that appears in our house almost every week, and for good reason. It’s delicious, for starters, and it’s easy. Oh and it’s pretty.

I made it once for my parents and some of their friends and it was a huge hit. Which gives this recipe another bonus point: great to make for large crowds. This is one of those recipes that is partially homemade and partially a shortcut. You could roast the bell peppers yourself, but the lazy girl in me says no thanks. I will, however, roast garlic. Because A) it makes the house smell a-ma-zing and has anybody within smelling distance drooling and B) I like to steal a few cloves for some bread as they come out of the oven.

The pasta I use is whole wheat, and even if you aren’t a big fan of whole wheat pasta I suggest giving it a try with this dish because you finish it off by cooking the pasta in the sauce for a bit and it soaks up all kinds of delicious red pepper flavor. Also, any kind of milk will do. If you want a thicker, creamier pasta sauce you can use half and half or heavy cream or something like that.

You don’t have to make this dish with chicken. In fact, it would be easy to make this a vegetarian meal by skipping the chicken and using vegetable broth. However, the punch of flavor from the blackened chicken is the perfect addition to the light and airy flavors of the bell pepper sauce. As a disclaimer, the blackened chicken is more like my version of blackened chicken. I sprinkle the chicken with whatever spices look good and let it sit in olive oil for about 15-30 minutes before grilling.

I originally saw a variation of this recipe on Food Network by The Pioneer Woman and knew right away I needed to try it. This is my version after making it several hundred times.

 

Recipe

  • 1lb linguine pasta
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Spices: salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, onion salt, lemon pepper
  • 2 16oz jars Mezzetta roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1  medium sized onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp fresh herbs, minced (like parsley or basil)
  • olive oil

Instructions

For the chicken:

Sprinkle your chicken breast with about 1 teaspoon of each spice, or whatever looks good to you. There isn’t really a method to the madness here. Once the chicken is thoroughly coated with spices put it in a ziploc bag with enough olive oil to coat both breasts, and then a little extra. Turn your grill to medium-high heat. Cook each breast about 5-6 minutes on each side. You want them to get some char, the flavor is awesome. Once the chicken is done remove it from the grill and cover with foil. Let it rest at least 5 minutes before cutting into it.

For the pasta and sauce:

Set your oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.  Boil your water for the pasta and cook according to package directions, minus a couple of minutes. You want the pasta to still be a little tough because you will cook it more in the sauce.

While those get going chop your onion, it doesn’t have to be perfect because you are just going to blend it. Break apart and peel your head of garlic. Place the cloves on a baking sheet and put enough olive oil to cover them. Salt and pepper them. Roast your garlic about 12 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through.

Put about 2tbls olive oil in a warm, large pan. Saute your onions with a sprinkle of salt and pepper until they are soft. Add the roasted garlic and drained peppers and cook until everything is warmed through.

Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Go back to the large skillet and melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted add your sauce from the blender and combine. Then add your chicken broth, milk, and some more salt and pepper. Let everything combine and taste test to make sure it is seasoned to your liking.

Drain your pasta and add it to the red pepper sauce. Coat the pasta with the sauce and let this simmer on low about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add your parmesan and seasonings.

Put your pasta in a bowl and then slice, chop, or shred your chicken and add it in.

Enjoy!

 

xoxo,

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