We have some meals around our house that we cook often but there's no recipes attached to them. This is in part because it's all by taste and also because I haven't gotten serious enough to focus on making them recipes. One of those meals is Barbecue Chicken Pasta. This might seem out of left field until you realize that most people have no problem eating Barbecue Chicken Pizza. For the pasta rendition we substitute noodles for the pizza dough and add in some nice caramelized veggies. We're not exactly forging new trails here with grilled chicken, boiled noodles and sauce. However, what makes this meal a bit more complex and the reason I don't have a proper recipe for it is the sauce. There's a million jarred BBQ sauces on the store shelves but the problem is that none of them fit this dish. Most are too smokey, too hot, have too much vinegar bite or are too sweet. Since I just knocked out the four dominant flavors of BBQ sauce you may wonder what my vision is. I want a sauce with no smokiness, no heat, a touch of sweetness to complement the caramelized onions and peppers, a touch of zippiness and a whole lot of tomato flavor. What I want is a BBQ flavored tomato based sauce that's bright and lively but not overpowering. You'd think that with 30 million jarred bbq sauces that someone would have that combination but so far I've not found it.
Following is the very rough recipe. I'm not happy enough with it to put it in the recipebook on this site. Later when I get the sauce dialed in I will but for now it's just a blog post. Forgive me for being just a bit vague on things.
Barbeque Chicken Pasta
- 2 lbs chicken breasts sliced once horizontally (3/4" thick)
- 4 medium red bell peppers in 1/2" slices
- 3 medium sweet (Maya, Vidalia or Walla Walla) onions sliced 1/2" wide
- 1 lb penne pasta
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 3 tbs vegetable oil
- 1 tbs salt
For the sauce (in order of need):
- 3 tbs butter
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups tomato ketchup
- 1/4 cup squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 4 tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 3 tsp kosher salt or fresh ground sea salt (cut in half if you're using table salt)
- 2 tsp dry mustard
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- Put olive oil in large straight sided saute pan over medium heat until hot
- Add sliced red bell peppers and saute for 10 minutes
- Add sliced onions, continue sauteing until both peppers and onions have carmalized (30 more minutes at least), stir occasionally
- In heavy bottomed frying pan place vegetable oil over medium heat until shimmering
- Place two chicken breasts in the pan and grill until brown, flip and repeat on opposite side. Remove to plate and add more. Grill until all chicken is done.
- Melt butter in medium sized sauce pan over medium heat and heat until foaming, add onions and garlic and saute for 2 minutes
- Add all other sauce ingredients and reduce heat to medium low and simmer
- While sauce is simmering cut the chicken breasts 1/2 wide and add to the onions and peppers and turn the heat to low
- Place large stock pot or sauce pan full of water on high heat. Add the salt and bring to a boil
- Add penne noodles and cook until al dente (10 minutes)
- Add pasta to onion, peppers and chicken.
- Fold bbq sauce into the other ingredients
- Serve in pasta bowls with fresh grated parmesen.
Just as a warning I use a 12 inch saute pan with 3 inch sides and these ingredients just barely fit.