(I find her choice of shirt for this cover amusing.)
And hey, if Rachael can do it in thirty minutes, then I can totally get it done in an hour and a half.
Last night, I tried this recipe for the first time:
1 lb. penne or corkscrew pasta
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 lbs. chicken breast cut up in bite size pieces
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 large yellow onion, chopped (I had to use red.)
3 garlic cloves, chopped (notice the big jar of not exactly fresh garlic)
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
Preheat the broiler, with rack eight inches from heat.
Bring pot of water to boil. Salt water and boil pasta until slightly undercooked.
While the water is coming to boil, preheat skillet with veggie oil. Season chicken with cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken to skillet and lightly brown for 3-5 minutes.
Add the onions, garlic, and jalapeños, and continue to cook for five minutes. While it's cooking, make the cheddar sauce.
In a medium pot, melt the butter and add the flour to it. Cook for one to two minutes over moderate heat, and then whisk in the milk. When it comes to a boil, stir in the cheese, cilantro, and parsley with a wooden spoon (seriously, Rachael, wooden???). Season with a little salt and pepper, and remove the cheese sauce from the heat.
Drain cooked pasta and add it, the cheese sauce, and the contents of the chicken skillet back to the pot. Stir to combine. Transfer to a baking dish, and place under the broiler until lightly browned.
Alterations: I didn't use fresh parsley or garlic. I also ran out of chili powder, so I used the little bit that I had and added a little cayenne pepper (DANG IT. I just looked in my spice drawer to see how you spell "cayenne," and I found a whole other jar of chili powder). I also added extra cheese to the top before putting it under the broiler, because, after all, you can never have enough cheese.
Here is the final product:
I had made fresh pico de gallo over the weekend, so I served the pasta bake with tortilla chips and pico, cheese dip, and/or black bean dip.
Here's my plate. Don't be fooled. I went back for seconds... and also licked the spoon when I transferred it to tupperware... and also had a strawberry short cake for dessert.
I also shared some with these cuties - my niece and nephew - who had come to visit for the afternoon. I also fed their mother, my sister-in-law. She deserved it after I had yelled things to her like, "I need a 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro STAT."
I'd probably give this recipe a 6 out of 10. It was tasty enough, but it wasn't rockin' my world or anything. It seems like one of those things you'd get tired of pretty quickly. But it would be good once in a while and is definitely nice if you are trying to feed several people.
I have to say that trying to make RR recipes about gives me a panic attack. It's not even like I try to get it done in thirty minutes, but you have to do everything at the same time because that's how the recipe is written. So ALL the dishes in my kitchen are dirty, food scraps, cutting boards, and knives are EVERYWHERE, and I may be having a coronary on the floor by the time it's all done.
And afterwards, as my reward for slaving in the kitchen for HOURS (slight exaggeration), we got to sit down and watch...