Sunday, February 17, 2008

Walnut Chicken with Creamy Roasted Garlic Black Pepper Rosemary Pasta

I must admit that 1. marinating chicken in buttermilk & 2. using Phoenix Pastificio pasta, you basically can't help making something delicious. I did both here. It was kinda like cheating.

Walnut Chicken

You'll need:

chicken breasts (I used 3 for 2 people + leftovers)
1/4c buttermilk
1T allspice, freshly ground if possible
1T coriander, freshly ground if possible
1T cayenne pepper
1/2c walnuts, roasted for more intense flavor
1/4c grated parmesan
1.5T paprika

Slice chicken across the grain into 1/2" thick slices (or make them however big or small you want-- I like a high crispy nut coating-to-chicken ratio). Place chicken in tupperware or bowl; add allspice, coriander, cayenne, salt, pepper, and buttermilk just to cover. Let sit 8-24 hours, refrigerated, of course.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grind walnuts, parmesan, paprika, salt and pepper in a food processor until the mixture is the consistency of fine dry breadcrumbs. Pour out onto a plate. Take the marinated chicken, letting marinade drip away, and dredge in walnut mixture, then place directly on an oiled baking sheet. Bake about 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and coating is golden brown. IF you don't care about the fat content, fry the chicken pieces in a little oil instead of baking them and serve immediately.

This chicken can be served with a dipping sauce, but I served it with a creamy, saucy pasta instead for more of a complete meal.

Creamy Roasted Garlic Pasta

You'll need:

wide pasta-- I used Phoenix Pastificio's Black Pepper Rosemary Pappardelle
1 head garlic, roasted
2c milk
2T butter
2T flour
1/2t dijon mustard
1/4c grated parmesan
1/4c grated sharp cheddar-- or really any cheeses you have lying around

Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour and cook, whisking, until paste bubbles up and doubles in size. Add garlic and stir. Add milk, slowly, stirring. Bring milk to a boil; it should start to thicken. When it's on its way, you can pause for a minute to attack it with an immersion blender to get rid of any chunks of garlic, but this is totally optional. Cook, simmering and stirring often, until it's almost the right thickness; then add cheeses and mustard, salt and pepper, stir to melt, and remove from heat. Serve with more parmesan on top.

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