Chicken Linguine Blanca with Poblanos

Notes from Leah:
This is my family's favorite pasta dish these days. Granted, their favorites change on occasion, as I invent new things, but this one really is a hit. My 10 month old daughter, her three older sisters (all of whom have very different preferences), as well as my husband, devour every last bit. The toppings are optional just as one might choose to use or not use grated parmesan on plain old spaghetti marinara. The dish has a Hispanic flair but is versatile enough
for anyone who enters my dining room. Poblanos chilies and epazote lend special flavor, but no heat.

Step 1: Sauce
1 lb. boneless chicken breasts
1 quart water
1 tsp. epazote
3 cups heavy cream
2 tbsp. real butter
8 oz. asadero cheese
8 oz. crumbled Ranchero® cheese
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper
2 cups roasted, peeled Poblanos chilies (directions below)

Step 2: 12 oz Linguine, cooked al dente

Optional toppings:
Pico di gallo (finely chopped fresh tomato, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro, with salt and lime)
crumbled queso fresco (adds a little extra texture)
chopped cilantro leaves (no stems, too overwhelming)

Place chicken, water and epazote in medium saucepan. Cover and boil on high for 10 minutes. Remove chicken to plate and cut into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces. If there are large pieces of epazote, break them up or remove. Return chicken to pan. Continue to boil, uncovered, until liquid is almost gone. Add cream and butter and reduce heat to simmer.
Add cheeses and spices. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until smooth except for chicken. Julienne the roasted peppers and add to the sauce. Simmer another 5 minutes and it is ready to serve with al dente linguine.

I sometimes toss the pasta and sauce together on a large pasta platter and serve family style, and sometimes I place a portion of pasta on a plate, cover with chicken/sauce, then add some crumbled queso fresco, topped with pico di gallo, and if the guest prefers, chopped cilantro.

Directions for roasting chilies: Place under broiler (my oven is electric) until skin blisters and turn to blister the other side. Immediately remove and place in a tightly covered dish or plastic bag to "sweat" at least 10 minutes. If still too warm to handle, run under cool tap water. Skins slip right off. To use, core and seed, then chop or julienne.  When I roast peppers, I roast a huge cookie sheet of them, then store some in the fridge, some in the freezer (don't
core, seed OR PEEL), so that I have them handy whenever I want.

MOM!MOM! Notes: Epazote is a little hard to find.  I checked and found ground
coriander seed is a pretty good substitute. Also you can change the cheeses
if you have a hard time finding them.  Ranchero cheese is a trademark for
queso fresco from  Cacique, Inc.


Home Up Next