A Hot and Spicy Kind of Love
November 6, 2008
There are so many memories that clutter the halls of mine and Alex’s courtship. Ranging in emotions, there are humorous ones like the time he called me the wrong name; absurd ones, that would be when he attempted to put my car on blocks as a joke; sad ones like when he held me after my beloved Gus Gus died, but my favorite memories are the ones where our love shines through. The way our love appears may be retarded or corny, but it is there, like the time he first made dinner for me.
I will confess that I am a bit of a control freak in the kitchen, maybe in other areas too, but definitely the kitchen. I would also assume that this over-observance when someone else is in my kitchen might make someone anxious when cooking for me. And I will concede that this was probably the case when Alex made me his Cajun Chicken Pasta.
The recipe was simple enough. Cook pasta and drain. Cook chicken in a pan with spices such as red pepper flake and pour a jar of Ragu Alfredo sauce over the concoction and serve. There was just one problem. The sifter lid on the red pepper flake was missing. I was not given the opportunity to tell him because I had been banned from the kitchen. (Not my fault) The result about 4 tablespoons of red pepper flake went into the dish.
Completely unaware of the hiccup, I began to eat the pasta like a dutiful girlfriend and I attempted to put on the greatest show. I may have been successful too, but you see I am somewhat of a light weight when it comes to heat. I hang out in the shallow end of the Scoville scale. Through my comments of delight, my body began giving me away. I became red all over, big fat tears began falling from my cheeks, and I began gulping down my Coke. Alex jumped into action and began to wash off my chicken pieces, hoping to rid them of flake while he profusely apologized. But it was too late, the damage to the sauce was done and the pizza man was called. We spent the rest of the night recovering and laughing and I realized a few things:
Alex was a man I could let take care of me for the rest of my life
Our love was a real; it all of its dorky glory it actually existed
I was a really big baby when it came to heat
And I needed to find a Cajun Chicken Pasta recipe quickly
I found one and it has become one of our favorite meals. For the food and the story behind it. It is not health food; I warn you of this now, it is all I want to do after is sleep because it was so good and I ate too much food.
Tips: I put the sun dried tomatoes in the food processor to get them a little bit smaller. I also only use about a ½ cup. You really need to blacken the chicken if you do this indoors turn on your hood. I use Emeril’s essence because the Paul stuff, you cannot find and if you do there is a warning not to use it inside.
4 (5-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup blackening spice (recommended: Paul Prudhomme’s Chicken)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup roughly chopped marinated sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup white wine
3 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound cooked fettuccine
1/2 cup sliced scallions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Dredge the chicken breasts in the blackening spice and place in a cast iron skillet over very high heat. Blacken both sides of the chicken and place in the oven for 10 minutes, or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Slice in strips on the bias and set aside.
In a saute pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Add garlic and lightly caramelize. Then add the sun-dried tomatoes and the chicken slices. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Add the heavy cream, increase the heat to a simmer, and reduce the cream sauce by half.
Nest the pasta on large rimmed plates, pour sauce over pasta, and garnish with scallions and the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.