Wow! I cannot tell you enough about how amazing this recipe is. I got this idea from The Pioneer Woman and bought ingredients for it, but hesitated to make it because I just wasn’t sure I would like the taste. I do like roasted red peppers in moderation, but the thought of my pasta covered in peppers was a little intimidating. Boy was I totally wrong to put this on the back burner for a couple of weeks. The taste of this sauce is reminiscent of a tomato based sauce with a hint of red pepper and herbs. You’ve gotta try it!
It was a match made in kitchen heaven with a simple, crispy pan-fried chicken cutlet breaded with panko and herbed breadcrumbs.
I pan fried my chicken cutlets first, and then started the sauce in the same pan. The brown bits and flavored oil from the chicken added to the depth of the sauce, making this recipe now go into the family rotation.
Using a good mostaccioli or rigatoni with ridges allows the thick sauce to cling to the pasta and it looks almost too good to eat with its beautiful red blush. It didn’t deter us enough last night though, and the entire batch was devoured by adults and kids alike. So, if you are looking for a quick weeknight meal that packs a punch of flavor, give this one a try. I bet it will be a family favorite for you too. Thanks Pioneer Woman!
What you need to make enough pasta & chicken for 4-6 people:
1 lb mostaccioli or rigatoni
1/4 Cup water that your pasta cooked in
1 small jar of roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1 small yellow onion, diced (approximately 1/2 Cup)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 – 1/3 Cup half and half
1/4 Cup chopped fresh herbs like parsley or basil
fresh parmigiano reggiano
4-6 thin sliced chicken cutlets
1/2 Cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 Cup seasoned regular bread crumbs
1 Tbs butter
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
Start a large pot of water to boil for your pasta. Make sure you salt your water (I use about 1/2 tsp of salt) because this is what gives your plain pasta flavor! Boil pasta per directions and save about 1/4 Cup of the pasta water for your sauce.
In a large skillet heat butter and 1 Tbs of olive oil over medium high heat until the butter sizzles. Season your chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in the breadcrumbs/panko (mixed together). You will have to press the chicken into the breading to get it coated because it will not stick right away since you are not using any eggs or milk.
Fry chicken up in butter and oil until cooked and set aside. If you use thin cutlets, these will cook rather quickly.
In the same pan that you cooked the chicken, add your remaining 1 Tbs olive oil and saute your onions for 5-7 minutes until they start to become translucent. Add your garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant, then add your chopped up red peppers. Cook together over a medium low temperature until the onions seem to be completely softened (about 3-5 more minutes).
Blend your pepper-garlic-onion mixture together with 1/4 Cup of the starchy pasta water until you have a smooth puree. Add the puree back to the hot saute pan and stir in the cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Toss your cooked pasta in the sauce, then stir in your fresh herbs and shave fresh parmigiano reggiano on top.
Serve hot with a chicken cutlet on the side and extra cheese if needed.