Friday nights, we go out to dinner as a family. When the girls were young, it was California Pizza Kitchen, El Torito, Baja Fresh. Later, we went crazy and added The Counter. Lately, we’ve branched out, dipping our toes in tapas, $u$hi, and southern BBQ. But CPK, for so long, was our fall back – a solid restaurant where the food was exactly, and consistently, what you expected. I ordered the vegetarian pizza (loved the Japanese eggplant), the husband — Chicken Tequila Fettuccine. When they started posting calories on the menu we were both sad, looking for something that wasn’t two thousand calories a bite.
It’s been awhile since we’ve been back. That burger I had at Stout last week may have been a heart attack on a bun but what do I know? There were no calories listed on the menu and ignorance is bliss. But oh, how I’ve missed digging my fork into the husband’s fettuccine, enjoying the tangy sauce, the tender chicken, the tasty peppers. I was inspired Monday to create my own Chicken Tequila Fettuccine, calories schmalories. And then I thought, why not see if someone knows the recipe so I can steal it and make it my own? To the interwebs I went.
Three different sources all confirmed the secret ingredient – soy sauce – which feels wrong but makes this dish taste SO right. The husband confirmed it was perfect and the daughters approved, so it’s staying in the repertoire.
My tweaks: I reduced the amount of heavy cream because I don’t like heavy cream sauces. I used Trader Joe’s bag of frozen Fire Roasted Bell Peppers & Onions to reduce prep time, and I eliminated the jalapeno pepper because I’m a wimpy gringa.
CPK’s Chicken Tequila Fettuccine
1 lb. spinach fettuccine
3 T. butter
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro (set aside 2 T. for garnish)
2 T. minced garlic
½ cup chicken broth
2 T. tequila
2 T. lime juice (fresh is best)
2 large chicken breasts, uncooked and diced
3 T. soy sauce
1 package frozen Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Bell Peppers & Onions
1 cup heavy cream
Boil heavily salted water for the pasta.
In a saucepan, melt 2 T. butter. Add the cilantro (minus the 2 T.) and garlic and sauté for 4 minutes or so on medium heat. Add the chicken broth, tequila, and lime juice and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture is reduced and resembles a ‘paste’, about four minutes. Set aside.
Cook the fettuccine in the boiling water and drain.
Toss the diced chicken with the soy sauce and set aside for 5 minutes.
In a large skillet, melt the remaining T. of butter and heat the peppers/onions. Add the chicken and soy sauce and stir, then add the cilantro ‘paste’, and heavy cream. Toss well and heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Pour over the fettuccine and garnish with leftover chopped cilantro.
I served this with a Mexican Caesar salad.
Eat it, enjoy, and screw the calories. Everything in moderation, right?