Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hatch Chili and Chicken Pasta

Sitting on a rocky ledge at Zilker Park with an old friend from high school to see a live performance of the Sound of Music reminded me of just how much I love this city. Not only am I surrounded by friends and making new friends each day, but there's actually things to do--- and they're fun! As much as I enjoy kicking back with a beer (yet another thing I share with the city), it's so nice to have things to do that don't revolve around drinking. 

Earlier in the day I went to the H.E.B., a terrific grocery store that we don't have in and around Dallas, and they were celebrating Hatch Chili Week with mad samples,  one which was a Hatch Chili Pasta dish with Chicken that was inspiring. Literally; it inspired me to make it. It didn't hurt that a very attractive woman in front of me tried the dish and told me that I had to try it. I was like "I'd rather try you baby, what are you doing tonight?" She was right about the dish so I decided to make it. H.E.B. wanted us to buy a premade Hatch Chili Soup to pour over the pasta. "It's so easy to make!" the sample-person kept saying. "I'm sorry sir, that's just not the way the Gourmet Apartment does it." I read ingredient list and kept thinking "oh no, I don't have xanthan gum and this preservative and that, I don't know..." but I did know. Here's my recipe. It's been peer reviewed. The verdict is "pretty good." My verdict was a little higher than that, but to each his/her own.

Hatch Chili and Chicken Pasta

6 Hatch Chili Peppers
3 Tomatillos
2 Jalapenos
4 Cloves Garlic
1 Tomato
1 Onion
1 bunch Cilantro
6 oz. Heavy Whipping Cream
1 can Chicken Broth 
~3 tbsp Masa
Lime Juice
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts cut into thin slices
~6 oz. Shredded Cheese
~12 oz. Medium Shells (Pasta)
Salt and Pepper as Usual
Water as Desired

In a toaster oven on broil, roast the Hatch Chili Peppers, Tomatillos, Jalapenos, and Garlic. Puree them in a food processor. Add the Tomato, Onion, and Cilantro and puree. Working in smaller batches if necessary, mix in the Cream and Chicken Broth. The H.E.B. product's ingredient list included Corn Tortilla which I didn't want to buy for this, so I just threw in the Maseca and Lime that I have lying around. Corn Tortillas are just Maseca, Lime, and Water, so I think this was an elegant solution. Anyway, mix this in and then stir everything together in a large pot and bring to a boil. While this is happening, cook your Pasta Shells. Once the Chili Sauce is boiling, toss in the Chicken, lower the heat and let simmer. A couple minutes later, mix in the shredded Cheese (I used Cheddar that I shredded by hand). Once the Pasta is just about done, drain it and mix it into the sauce. Add Water or allow liquid to boil off as you see fit. Serve with Avocados if you're entertaining a lady friend. Even if it is just platonic.

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