The Penne pasta especially the ridged one, is an excellent sauce-grabber! The hollows of the pasta hold the sauce inside and the ridges on the outside. Done in white sauce, you will lick the cheesiness off your fingers for quite a while!
And adding shredded chicken, makes it all the more juicy.
What you need :
For the pasta
- 250 gms pasta
- 250 gms boneless chicken breast (i always use the frozen!) – cut into 2 inch pieces , marinated for at least 15 mins in lemon juice, ginger garlic paste, salt and chilli powder
- 2 tbsp corn flour
- 4 medium size shredded onions
- 1 cup Cheese spread or grated cheese
- 1 tbsp mixed herb seasoning/ pepper and chilli flakes
- 2 cups water
For the tomato dressing
- 2 medium sized tomatoes -cut in tiny pieces
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 3 crushed garlic cloves
- Salt, and chili powder
Cooking pasta : Remember, “pasta loves to swim”
There have always been different views on the best method to cook pasta. I have tried a few of them and by far this is the preferred one :
- Fill a large pan with water , the more the better. Pasta only sticks when cooked in less water.
- Bring the water to a rolling boil – a boil you cant stop by stirring, and then add some salt.
- Slowly add the pasta to the boiling water and stir and then stir some more. The essential fe minutes of stirring is very crucial to prevent it from sticking.
- Don’t add oil, because that will make the pasta slippery and the sauce won’t stick to it when it’s done.
- Start timing when the water returns to a boil. Most pastas cook in 8-12 minutes. Check the package directions!
- Really the only way to tell if the pasta is correctly cooked is to taste it. It should be ‘al dente’ – firm, yet tender
- Once done, drain the pasta in a colander placed in the sink. Caution : extremely hot boiling water.
- Dont ever rinse the pasta, the starch which is let out during cooking helps the sauce stick to the pasta.
Now that pasta is cooked, lets work on the sauce.
Saute the onions in a pan in butter or plain oil. Once the onions turn a soft golden brown, add corn flour dissolved in half a cup of water. Mix well, and add the marinated chicken. Fold in the cheese, let it cook in a closed pan for about a minute or two, and then with a hand blender, shred the chicken right in the pan till about 3/4 of the chicken is shredded into a thick creamy mixture with the onions.
After that add the penne-al-dente to the pot. Drizzle the mixed herb spices, some salt if required, & black pepper. Stir and cook for another 3-4 minutes with a closed lid. If you want to have it with bread, add the two cups of water, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Chicken pasta is done!
Now for the sauce, heat a tsp olive oil in a skillet, and fry the minced garlic till brown. Add the tomatoes, salt and chilli powder (spicier version tastes better with the pasta), cover it and let it cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add coriander, and the tomato sauce is ready to be served on the sauce!