Senor’s Pasta

>A little over four years ago I made a dinner for two of my girlfriends. I wanted it to be fancy but unique so I thought about what my favorite flavors were. I love cheese of all variety and I really love when meat, cheese and fruit mix together. Waldorf salad is one of my favorites so I think I had those ingredients in mind when I settled on a pasta. I had no name for it and it has too many ingredients for it to be named by what’s in it alone. I made it again, a few weeks later for Senor who I had just started dating. He liked it, but disliked one of the main ingredients, so I switched it out and thus, Senor’s Pasta was born. I named it after him maybe three years later, after many variations and because every time I make it he says, “YES!!!!” with pure glee. For the record, I think it was pretty delicious the way it was but it’s turned out to be one of those recipes that I never make the same way twice and I love it because it’s not a long one to make….but it tastes like it is. 😀

Initially the dish was penne pasta in an olive oil/white wine sauce with chicken breast, caramelized pears (butter and brown sugar), gouda cheese, fresh basil, crushed red pepper and fresh garlic. It was delicious, however Senor dislikes pears. Something about them being mushy, so I switched it to apples and he adores it.

While the first time I made it I was very precarious in each step. I cut the chicken up and sauteed it until done, and seasoned it to taste. I caramelized the pears in a separate sautee pan, using butter and brown sugar, only stirring them in at the very end of cooking. I have since realized that this dish does not require that level of detail. It really does not. This is what you will need, and trust me, variations are not a big deal.

Yes, you can use the Chuck if you’d like. This pasta will not judge you for
using $3 wine.

Noodles – some kind of pasta. any will do.
Chicken breast – either boneless breasts or boneless tenders.
Red onions – or not. Chopped up into thin slices.
An apple or a pear – get a nice big one. I enjoy honeycrisps but pink ladies do nicely as well. For pears, make sure it’s firm.
Cheese – one fancy cheese like gouda, fresh mozzarella, smoked swiss, whatever. Let’s not lie, in the pictures on this post I used cut up string cheese. Fancy cheese is better, but cheese is cheese!
Cheese – shredded parmesan for the top
Brown sugar
Butter
Olive oil
Basil – fresh if you’ve got it
Garlic – fresh if you’ve got it
White wine, or beer, or not if you don’t have it. It won’t ruin it to not have it.

Fresh basil and other herbs from our garden, a must-have for this recipe.

Other things that you can toss in there include mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, bacon, etc. Really, whatever you have.

Start by melting butter with olive oil in a skillet. Cook the chicken and cut into smallish pieces. Boil up the noodles. Chop and add the onion and cook until onion is translucent. Add a bit more butter and add the chopped apple or pear. Once coated in butter, sprinkle brown sugar in. Add some wine or beer. Or not. You can add wine and beer throughout if you want. It’ll deglaze the pan and add flavor. I never measure any of this stuff. Just keep in mind, you want it to be nice and saucy so it coats your noodles at the end. At this point you may want to sprinkle everything with salt and pepper, garlic and crushed red pepper.

Once everything is more or less tender, toss in your cooked pasta and I do mean toss. Get that stuff coated. If you don’t have enough sauce, add more wine/beer, butter, oil, brown sugar, whatever you want. Give a coated noodle a taste and adjust your seasoning as necessary. When everything looks just about ready, add in some cubed cheese and some fresh basil leaves. Turn off the heat and just stir these things in. This keeps the cheese from glopping all over, but gives each cube a nice melted texture.

Cut up string cheese. Fancy.

I think we had tomatoes in the dish in this picture. They’re a nice touch, but
not imperative.

Serve it up in pasta bowls with parmesan on top and some fresh ground black pepper. Drink the rest of the wine with it. You’ll be happy you did.

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One Comment on “Senor’s Pasta”

  1. Jessica says:

    >I use cut up string cheese too! I never seem to have REAL cheese. This dish looks yummy! 🙂


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