Most of the time, I cook dinner, take pictures, and usually try to blog it the next day. And I try to bring you at least three or four new recipes a week. I'm busy, I know. And I consider myself very blessed and fortunate that it works out that way for me most of the time. But every now and then it takes a few tries to get a recipe right. Like this pasta. This is Spicy Chicken Rigatoni.
I saw something kinda similar on Pinterest, but I had to change it up some, of course. I just can't leave well enough alone. I'm one of those moms who will just do it myself since I can't get anyone in the house to do it my way and it's easier to just do it than to argue or try to teach someone the right way. That's probably doing my kids a disservice on some level, but maybe they'll take away the fact that doing things right is the way they should do things when they're grown.
Anywho, the first time I made this pasta, the flavor was awesome, but I had a little problem with the cheese. It seized up on me and stuck to the chicken and there was no sauce at all. The second time I made it, I added chicken stock to the recipe, but the cheese still seized up. I went back to the source of the similar pasta and read the comments and found that other people had that problem too.
So I thought long and hard and my brain flipped the light bulb switch. I make a lot of cheese sauces and I add the cheese after the liquid boils, but I do it off of the heat and in small amounts. So I tried that here. Voila! It worked! Creamy, cheesy sauce. This pasta also has sundried tomatoes, which my husband will tell you he doesn't care for. But he loved this pasta so much that he asked me to make it again next week. Even my picky son ate it all three times and loved it. And I hope you love it too!
SPICY CHICKEN RIGATONI
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 T butter
1 lb rigatoni (or your favorite shape pasta)
One 8.5 ounce sundried tomatoes in oil, well drained
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 C half & half
1 C chicken stock
1 1/2 C shredded Mozzarella
1/2 C shredded Asiago cheese
Red chili flakes, to taste
2 T chopped fresh basil
Salt & pepper, to taste
Cook the pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet or dutch oven and drizzle in some olive oil. Cook the chicken until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Spoon the chicken out of the skillet and put on a plate. Cover the plate to keep the chicken warm. Turn the heat up a little bit and add in the onion. Cook the onion until tender. Add in the garlic, sundried tomatoes, smoked paprika, chicken stock, cooked chicken and any juice on the plate, half & half, red chili flakes to taste, and salt & pepper to taste. Bring it to a rapid boil. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the Mozzarella in small amounts until it is melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the Asiago cheese the same way. Stir in the basil and the drained pasta and serve.
Loosely adapted from Julia's Album