Monday, February 11, 2013

Spicy Chipotle Pasta!


It's most disappointing to cook a good meal and not be able to share it through a decent picture...my point and shoot is great and I love it to death but it's starting to become a bit limited from time to time. Example, though it handles low light really well, once the sun sets or nearly sets, it becomes a hit and miss for photo moments. Either I get a great shot or a great blurry one. It's unfortunate today was not the day it provided me with a great shot, sufficient but not great.

I guess partly that should be my own fault. If I had just come home from my dentist appointment there would've been plenty of light... but no, I decided, let's grab some Thai food and stop by my friend's work to have lunch which was nice, that was a good decision. Now did I go home after that, nope! I decided to stop by TJMaxx to see if I can get my hands on some new fuzzy slippers...well a hour later and no slippers but I ended up with 2 new tanks (of which I can't even wear yet), a typical girl problem. We go somewhere to buy something we need and always come out with none of what we went there for but a bunch of other new shiny things, its like a dog at the park with loads of squirrels. Okay so now that my squirrel moment is over, its time to talk about food!


The day before work is always fun because the natural procrastinator in me will always wait until the last minute to make my lunch for the week, hence my mini shopping trip which resulted in lack of quality food pics. I originally wanted to try a different pasta recipe I had formulated in my head but given my time restraints, I decided I'm not going to play with that recipe yet, maybe next week. This week, we're just going on the fly. Dug around in the fridge and noticed I still had the chipotle peppers left from when I made my chipotle chicken chowder so my brain instantly went to the Cheesecake Factory Spicy Chicken Chipotle Pasta dish which if you ever look at the calories (something you should never do if you ever want to eat it again) it'll make your eyes pop out or your heart stop whichever wants to come first. Let's just say it use to my favorite dish. After I looked at the nutrition facts... I just couldn't eat it anymore. Well today I used that dish as inspiration and came up with my own healthier version of spicy chipotle pasta! It's not exact but I certainly think its up to par and certainly not as crazy high in calories. 

I just have a love for all things spicy, it gives everything such a good kick and it'll keep you wanting more and more (and some would say "yeah, more water")! Now enough nonsense, time to get to the core of the dish. Onions, mushrooms, red bell peppers, sauted in garlic olive oil with some oregano, thyme, and cumin then topped off with some chipotle peppers and cream...now that's a dish! If you want to keep it light, feel free to skip the cream and cheese. Add a little bit of whole milk and a little bit of corn starch/flour for a thicker/creamy texture and it'll be completely health friendly!

Makes 3-4 servings
Ingredients:
  • 7 oz of penne pasta (approx ½ box, use whole wheat/grain for better nutrients)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 10-15 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-3 tbsp of olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • Garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • ½ tbsp thyme
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2-3 chipotle peppers, crushed/diced (from can of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce)
  • 2-3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp crème fraiche (optional, cut out a tablespoon of cream if using this)
  • 2 tbsp of milk (optional, can replace with broth or water)
  • A handful of parmesan cheese (optional)

Procedures:
  1. Cook pasta via instructions on packaging, drain noodles, and coat with some olive oil and give it a quick sauté (in the same pot with some salt and pepper) once cooked, set aside
  2. In a medium sauté pan, heat up approx 1 tbsp of olive oil and add in bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms with oregano, thyme, and cumin. Toss/stir the mixture until nearly done then add in half the amount of chipotle peppers, let it continue to cook on low.
  3. Take the other half of chipotle peppers and mix it in with the heavy cream until well incorporated, set aside.
  4. Add pasta into bell pepper mix then stir in chipotle cream and crème fraiche, and milk.
  5. Top with a handful of parmesan cheese.
 



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