Now that we are finally finished with our Thanksgiving leftovers, my husband requested that I make this spicy chicken pasta dish. We had some for dinner last night, along with a tomato and mozzarella salad. It’s best enjoyed with a generous glass of red wine, or some sparkling cranapple juice- if that’s more your speed! My husband enjoys it so much that he was excited to bring leftovers for lunch today, despite the fact that it is Chinese Food Day, one of the happiest days of the work week. Anyone who has worked long hours at a job, especially one where you sometimes feel a bit cooped up, knows how exciting ordering out is, or even just lunchtime in general. When I worked as a job coach, the Starbucks and McDonalds runs that I’d make with my coworkers got us through the long days at the office when we weren’t out coaching. The point is, on Thursdays, I’m competing with Chinese Food Day, and today, I won.
This is an easy enough dinner to make on a busy week night. Just be sure to take some chicken out of the freezer to defrost in the morning. We usually use one large chicken breast, but you can add more if you like a dish that is a little more meat heavy. You could also use spiralized zucchini instead of pasta if you are looking for a gluten free or lower carb dinner. You can adjust the level of spice, but please don’t- the spiciness makes this dish interesting. We think it’s pretty perfect, but it is really spicy, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 Large Chicken Breast
1 Shallot or about a quarter of a small onion
1 Cup of Frozen Peas
1 Pound Pasta (we like rigatoni)
1 Jar Tomato Sauce (Homemade is best, but your favorite store bought brand works too:)
1 Tablespoon Italian Herb Mix
2 Teaspoons Hot Red Pepper Flakes (plus a little more to sprinkle on top)
Grated Romano Cheese (for a topping when you serve)
Before you start chopping, put up some water to boil the pasta. Dice up your shallot, and sautee it in olive oil over medium heat. While keeping an eye on the shallots, cube the chicken breast. Add the cubed chicken to the shallots and sautee them together. Once the chicken is beginning to cook, sprinkle on the Italian herb mix, and toss the chicken so that everything is spiced. Next, do the same with the hot red pepper flakes.
Is the water boiling yet? If so, add your pasta and just mix it once in awhile and keep an eye on it while you are cooking the chicken.
Once the chicken is nearly done, add the peas into the mix to defrost (make sure you are adding loose frozen peas because a giant frozen block will take too long to defrost. Hit the bag on the counter if you need to break up clumps of peas). My least favorite part about cooking chicken, is making sure everything is cooked. I end up using my spatula to break a bunch of the bigger cubes in half to check if they are cooked. Its not the best method, but that’s how I do it!
Once the chicken is cooked, as well as the pasta, get out the biggest bowl that you have. Add a little tomato sauce to the bottom, and then add your pasta to the bowl. Top with the chicken, shallots and peas, and then pour on the rest of your sauce. Mix everything evenly together, and then feel free to sprinkle on some more hot pepper flakes if you like things extra spicy.
Enjoy it for dinner! And then maybe again for lunch tomorrow!
*For those of you interested in the salad, we used mozzarella pearls and halved cherry tomatoes drizzled in olive oil and balsamic. I also sprinkled Italian herb mix over the top. No measuring required, just follow your heart. Unless your heart tells you you to add the whole jar of seasoning or something. That’s just wrong.