Sunday, November 20, 2011

Spaghetti In A Creamy Tomato Chive Butter Sauce Topped with Moist Chicken Cajun Cutlets

This has got to be my favorite Pasta by far. For me, it's the best of both worlds of creamy and tomato based pastas.

When I look at it, it resembles Chicken Parmesan Pasta in that the pasta is topped off with a cutlet, or thin cut of meat breaded and pan fried.  There's something about fried breaded meat on top of pasta and sauce.  I think the flavors and textures mix in so well together.  

Maybe the reason why I love it so much is because it's sort of a grown up version of Chicken Mc Nuggets and magic dunking sauce.  The cutlet on top is the nugget, and the creamy sauce is the little dunking sauce.  Hmm... Then the noodles can be the french fries?  All I know is that this pasta made me dance... and that's a pretty good indicator that it's a keeper.

How did this dish come about?  I had left over Chive Butter Spread and wondered what I should do with it since I was out of bread to spread it on.  Once again, I looked at what ingredients I had on hand (spaghetti, tomato, and chicken breast) and tossed them together.

*Note: I always bring my chicken breast to room temp before cooking it. This helps ensure that it gets cooked evenly.  I also lightly dredge them in flour and pan fry them with butter because these two steps are key in helping keep moisture in.  Butter has a lower heat capacity compared to regular oil so it's like you're slow cooking your chicken. 

Serve with garlic bread, soup, and/or salad.  As always, enjoy!  
2-3 servings; 15-25min
3 tbsp butter (I use land o lakes light, salted)
1 garlic clove minced finely
~1/3 cup chopped chives chopped
1 tsp dried parsley
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp Cajun seasoning
If using unsalted butter add 1/2 tsp salt.  If using salted, add 1/4tsp or to taste.
1/4 cup lime juice from a ripe lime (or white wine)

1 tbsp cream cheese
6 tbsp evaporated milk

1 large very ripe tomato diced
splash of water
2 chicken breast
~4 tbsp flour for light dredging 
1 tbsp butter for each breast for frying
cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper for dusting breast

200g (~1/2 standard pack in Grenada) Spaghetti noodles

Cheddar cheese for topping

1. Butterfly chicken breast (lay palm of hand on top of one side and use a flat edged knife to make a cut down the middle. Tip: to start the cut, make short back and forth motions with a flat edged knife). Lay flat and cover with plastic wrap.  Take a flat edged cup or mallet and pound in a thin even layer.  Lightly dust chicken with salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning on one side only. Bring to room temperature while preparing other ingredients.
2. Sauce: Melt butter in sauce pan Medium heat. add chives, garlic, parsley, pepper, cajun seasoning, and salt. stir frequently to cook uniformly.  When mixture starts bubbling ~5 min. add lime juice. Stir to incorporate. Cook for 2 more min. Add cream cheese and evaporated milk. stir to incorporate. cook for another min and move to a separate bowl.
3. Noodles: bring a pot of salted water to a boil. cook noodles until their slighty undercooked. they will continue to cook in sauce.  One cooked, drain but don't rinse.
4. Chicken: Heat fry pan medium high heat. add 1/2 tbsp butter and wait until it starts crackling. In the meantime, lightly coat chicken in flour and shake all excess flour off.  Add to crackling fry pan and cook on one side without moving it for ~3 min. Be careful to make sure the pan doesn't smoke. Push to the side and add other 1/2 tbsp butter. once melted, flip chicken breast and cook for ~3min. to check if cooked, stab the breast- juices should run clear. repeat process with other breast. once both are cooked move to a separate plate.
5.  Don't discard chicken drippings.  Under medium high heat, add diced tomatoes and lightly salt to extract water. stir to coat in drippings. add a splash of water and cover with lid. stir occasionally and cook until tomatoes have turned into a puree ~5 min.
6. Once cooked, add creamy sauce and mix well.  Once mixed, add spaghetti. Mix well until sauce sticks to noodles. Turn Heat off and top with sliced chicken cutlets and shredded cheese and enjoy!! 

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