Thursdays in the kitchen with Jo: CPK’s chicken tequila fettuccine

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.

And so:

CPK’s Chicken Tequila Fettuccine

(serves 5)

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?

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  1. Beth says

    Thank you! I’ve finally got the husband to occasionally eat chicken (if it’s free range, organic, humanely raised, college educated, blah blah) so I need good, easy recipes!

  2. Mary Anne says

    You must have read my mind -this morning I thought, oh how I miss Thursdays in the kitchen with Jo and here we are. Also funny – Madeline and Greg had a father daughter dance last Friday and Sean took me on a “date” to CPK for dinner (he won a gift card). I remember how much I love their food and to my relief the one up here has dispensed with listing the calories on their menus. Can’t wait to make this.

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