Monday, August 31, 2009

Mexican Style Chicken with Penne

Over the past few weeks I have been going through all of my Food and Wine magazines from the past two years so I can send them to the recycle bin. I now have a large folder full of recipes to try, including this one that I made for dinner over the weekend -
Mexican Style Chicken with Penne.

I read the recipe a few times and decided that I wanted to add a few things, including zucchini, green bell pepper, and jalapeno pepper. However when it came time to cook, my zucchini had turned to rubber (after only one day!) so I had to go without it. I think this was a good thing - this dish was perfect with only the tomatoes and peppers.

Below is the original recipe with my notes in italics.


  • 3/4 pound penne rigate
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (used a lot less than this, especially since I added chicken broth)
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch dice (I used 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Added: Adobo seasoning
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • Added: 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • Added: 1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 large chipotle in adobo sauce, seeded and minced, plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce (This flavor is very overpowering to me, so I used maybe a third of the amount listed)
  • Added: 1/2 c chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn (I completely forgot about the corn....and honestly didn't miss it!)
  • 1/4 pound queso blanco or mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated (1 1/3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook until al dente. Drain the penne.
  • Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil.
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add it to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat until the onion is softened and the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the peppers; saute 2 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, chipotle and adobo sauce and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the chicken broth, bring to a simmer.
  • Add the corn, season with salt and pepper and cook until the corn is heated through, about 1 minute.
  • Add the penne and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil (didn't add oil - I had enough liquid because of the broth) to the sauce and toss to coat.
  • Add 1 cup of the queso blanco and toss.
  • Transfer the pasta to bowls, sprinkle with the remaining queso blanco and the cilantro and serve.

We both thought this was great, especially for a meal that took about 15-20 minutes to cook. The peppers added great flavor, and of course we liked the touch of heat from the jalapeno. I think I made the right decision by cutting back on the chipotle and adobo sauce - the amount that I did add gave just the right amount of smokiness without being overpowering.

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  1. I love how colorful this is and Tex Mex flavors are especially great with pasta!

  2. Hi Mary Ellen! That is crazy we both posted this at the same time! I like your addition of the chicken broth. I'm always searching for new Mexican style dishes and loved this one with pasta! I also can't believe we both forgot the corn, too lol. That's even more strange!