Sunday, February 12, 2012

Southwestern Pasta

Way back in my waitressing days, the restaurant I worked at had a pasta that I'd been itching to try.  It was called the Southwestern Chicken Pasta, although of course I'd requested to have it made without chicken.  I'd heard my customers rave about it- heck, I'd even raved about it when asked (I'm sorry customers.  It's just easier to pretend to eat meat than answer a million questions about protein.)   Anyways, when I finally tried this dish I was disappointed, to say the least.  It just didn't live up to it's potential, and that made me sad.  So I took it upon myself to give it the life it deserved.

Southwestern Pasta
Yield: 4 servings

For Sauce:
6 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups milk
1 cup fresh grated parmesan (any other kind will result in lumpy sauce)
1/2 cup tomato paste
1-2 tbsp cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, then whisk in flour and cook until it forms a golden paste, about 5-7 minutes.  Whisk in milk one cup at a time, then reduce heat to medium, and rest of ingredients, whisking continuously until combined. Let cook for 8-10 minutes, whisking frequently, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10- 15 minutes.

For Pasta:
16 oz pkg rotini (or pasta of choice)
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 anaheim peppers, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2-4 cloves garlic, minced

Bring water to boil in large pot and cook pasta according to al dente instructions on box.  In a large frying pan over medium high heat, cook peppers and onions until onions become transparent.  Add garlic, salt and pepper, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring continuously.  Reduce heat to low and cook for 10- 15 minutes until peppers and onions are fork-tender.  Add sauce and veggies to pasta and toss to combine. 

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