I could tell you I don't like to play favorites with pasta. Every fusilli alla vodka, spaghetti swirled with butter and pepper, and blistered tomato-topped capellini is equally beautiful in my eyes. But the truth is: There's one pasta recipe that's truly a cut above the rest. Jonah and I came across it while I still worked at Food52, and have made it nearly every week since, which means (pause for quick math), I've eaten it approximately 286 times, and still find it incomparably soul-satisfying and craving-sating. I've mentioned it over the years in The List, but it's truly a travesty that it never received a dedicated post, until now.
This secret to this pasta is that it essentially takes every delicious pasta ingredient—caramelized onions, roast chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, white wine, cream, chorizo, pesto—and combines them into one Super Pasta. (Why aren't more people talking about this pasta??) Over the years, we've made small tweaks to the original, like making our own penne from scratch with this pasta maker, but there's really not much to improve upon. Once you add the chorizo to the pot of onions and garlic, it turns into a richly gooey, savory mess that clings to each penne and is brightened by the pesto you serve it with. Below is my take on Creamy Penne with Roast Chicken, Chorizo, and Pesto, which is enough for four generous portions:
You will need:
For the homemade pasta:
2 cups all-purpose flour
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 egg yolk
Or, one 16-ounce box of penne pasta
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves pressed garlic
One 12-ounce package Soyrizo (I prefer Trader Joe's or El Burrito brand) or Mexican chorizo, casing removed
1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups rotisserie or roast chicken, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 handful chopped parsley (optional)
Pesto, to serve (I love this budget-friendly recipe, or Trader Joe's store-bought!)
Philips Pasta Maker (entirely optional!)
How to make it:
1. If using boxed pasta, skip this step! No news here: I'm obsessed with my pasta maker and prefer to make fresh pasta (for the convenience of not having to keep every shape in my pantry, and because it tastes better). If making the pasta fresh, add 2 cups flour to Philips Pasta Maker with the penne shape on, and follow instructions for "Pasta with Egg/Flavored Pasta." Add 1 egg yolk and juice from half a lemon to your measuring cup, then fill with water as instructed (mine called for 190 ml for 2 cups of flour, but yours may require a different yield), and cut pasta into 1 1/2-inch pieces.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil as you begin to make the sauce.
3. In a large pot (I use the largest I own), heat olive oil until it shimmers over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until softened and just beginning to brown, about 7 minutes.
4. Add garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and chorizo. Cook for about 6 to 10 minutes, until it begins to stick to the bottom of the pot.
5. Add wine to deglaze (so satisfying!), then add in the chicken and cream. Cook on low, to warm it all as you cook the pasta.
6. Add fresh pasta to the boiling water and cook until just al dente, about 2 to 3 minutes. (Alternatively, follow package instructions to cook penne and keep an eye on your sauce—turn it down, if needed.) Reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining.
7. Add drained pasta directly to sauce, with 1/2 cup to 1 cup pasta water to thin, as needed. Fold in the Parmesan and parsley, if using.
8. Serve with pesto, chili flakes, and more Parmesan, Enjoy!
For inquiring minds, here are a few links: Poly and Bark Dining Table, West Elm Chairs, Lulu and Georgia Rug, Handmade Napkins (a gift from a friend), Year & Day Bowls, Blue Ceramic Mugs from my trip to Vietnam, Vintage Forks, Other Tableware from Food52
I'll be sharing my process on @shopcupcakesandcashmere Stories later today—don't miss it!
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