Fare With A Flair: Italian meets Tex-Mex in a zesty pasta pairing

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I’m lucky to have a family that enjoys just about every type of food from just about every corner of the world.

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I’m also grateful that they are willing to try assorted dishes that combine aspects of one type of cuisine with another. In other words, they are adventurous.

My recipe today is an example of stretching the boundaries. It marries Italian pasta and ingredients common to the Tex-Mex kingdom. The resulting dish was met with great enthusiasm.

The key ingredient is chipotles with adobo sauce. Chipotles are smoked and dried jalapeno peppers. They can be found in boxes in the international aisle of some grocery stores and at any store specializing in Latin American cuisine. You can substitute the chipotle hot sauce if you can’t find the chiles.

This colorful and spicy dish is finished with a handful of Tex-Mex cheese blend, chopped cilantro and green onions.

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Chipotle Chicken Tex Mex Pasta

(For 6 persons)

1 C. (15 ml) vegetable oil

1 large onion, diced

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, cored and sliced

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, quartered

1 large chipotle adobo, chopped (with a little sauce)

1 cup (250 ml) whipped cream (35%)

1/2 cup (125 mL) chicken broth

1 lb (500 ml) short pasta of your choice

1 cup (250 mL) grated Tex-Mex cheese blend

1/3 cup (75 mL) chopped cilantro

3 green onions, chopped

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat. Cook the onion until soft. Stir in garlic and peppers and cook until peppers are just tender. Reserve about 1/4 of the pepper strips.

2. Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned on all sides and cooked through.

3. Stir in chipotle, cream and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.

4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente.

5. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the chicken. Return the reserved peppers to the skillet. Season with salt to taste.

6. Stir in cheese.

7. Transfer to a warmed bowl of pasta and garnish with cilantro and green onions.

8. Serve immediately, with more grated cheese and hot sauce, if desired.