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Friday, October 23, 2009

Feta & Sweet Pepper Pasta

Last night was one of those nights where I started making dinner before I knew what we were having. I knew that chicken breast was going to play a role because - as usual - I forgot to pull something out to thaw ahead of time. I also knew that pasta sounded like a good plan. Unfortunately, we were out of Parmesan cheese. How do you make a creamy sauce for pasta without Parmesan? I was at a loss until I eventually saw the tub of crumbled feta I got last week to make my carrot salad. I wasn't sure how that would work, so I took a spoon out and scooped up some of the sauce that I had made so far and threw a few pieces of feta in there. I had no idea that feta could make such a delicious cream sauce!

On top of it, I had a clam shell of those cute little yellow, orange, and red sweet peppers that were starting to get wrinkly in the fridge, so they got thrown in there. Somehow, the flavors ended up being wonderful. I love it when "make-it-up-as-you-go" night works so well!

Now, the only problem is that making recipes this way is that it makes it a bit challenging to record the exact proportions because there is a lot of fiddling going on, but I think I can give you a good approximation. This is a great tasting sauce with pizazz and gusto. The green you see in the picture above is fresh parsley, but I think this dish would really be great with some spinach in it, too.

Feta & Sweet Pepper Pasta
Yield: serves 4

3 TBS butter
3 TBS minced shallots
3-4 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/3 cup chopped sweet peppers (the small ones have great flavor)
3 TBS white wine
3 TBS all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light cream
1 cup milk
1/3 cup crumbled feta
salt & pepper, to taste
2 TBS minced fresh parsley
cooked fettuccine noodles

Melt the butter over medium-high heat until pan is hot and butter is lightly sizzling. Add the shallot. Cook, stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes. Maintain the heat and add the chicken. Make sure your pan is large enough that the chicken is not too crowded. You want to develop some good browned bits in the pan. When the chicken is well browned but not quite cooked through, add the peppers. Cook for another 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Turn the heat down to medium.

Add the flour and stir to coat the pieces in the pan. Add the cream and milk and stir until it begins to thicken. Add the feta and stir to help it melt in evenly. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Add the parsley right before serving. Serve over cooked fettuccine noodles.

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