Chicken and Pasta Recipes are pretty common fair.  And while the combination is usually good, it can also be pretty boring if you are not mixing up the recipes and supporting ingredients.  Fortunately, both chicken and  pasta are the masters of mixing and matching and with a few core cooking techniques we can have a different and exciting Chicken and Pasta dish every night of the week.  In this recipe, I show you how to make a Chicken Penne with Chorizo and Peas.  To me, it’s a bit of a Spanish twist on the combination, and the spicy chorizo (even just a bit it) adds a ton of flavor, while the peas a nice color and even a bit of a creamy texture.  A side benefit is it’s one of the easiest chicken pasta recipes around, and should only take you about 30 minutes to make.  I hope you enjoy it much as I do.

Recipe Overview & Keys to Success

To make the best Chicken Penne with Chorizo and Peas make sure you do the following:

  1. As with all pasta recipes, don’t over cook the penne.  Since I like to finish the penne in the pan with the sauce, you need to take it out of the water a bit early (30 seconds to a minute).  Don’t rely on the package directions, make sure you taste it as it cooks.
  2. Personally, I don’t care how much chorizo you use…but just keep in mind that it’s a strong ingredient, and a little can go a long way.  I like to make sure the dish is balanced, and the chorizo is a accent flavor, not the main.
  3. Add the peas at the last second.  They don’t really need to cook, they just need to heat up and integrate with the pasta "sauce".  If you cook them longer than 2 – 3 minutes they can get mushy and dull colored
  4. There are a few types of Chorizo out there.  I prefer a harder, salami like version to the more sausage like style.  That type of chorizo is already cooked, so you really just need to render a bit of the fat (and the flavor) out, for a few minutes…longer and you can overcook it

RECIPE FOR CHICKEN PENNE WITH CHORIZO AND PEAS

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 1 cooked chicken breast, diced into bite size pieces
  • 1/3 cup of diced chorizo sausage
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 diced garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 lbs of penne pasta

Chicken Penne With Chorizo and Peas

  • If you are not using leftover chicken, season the chicken breast with salt and pepper and cook it in a sauté pan, with a good sear on both sides
  • Remove and allow the chicken to cool
  • Bring a pot of salted water to the boil, and while it heats, dice the chicken into bite size pieces
  • Drop the penne into the water, and stir to prevent it from sticking
  • To the pan you cooked the chicken in (or a fresh one if using left over chicken) add the chorizo and cook over medium heat until it has rendered some of its fat, and the edges are just starting to turn crisp
  • Add the onion and garlic and sauté for a minute until they are slightly softened
  • When the pasta is a minute from being cooked, use a cup to reserve some of the pasta water, and drain the penne
  • Turn up the heat on the sauté pan to high, and add the penne and the peas; you will also likely need to add more olive oil to the pan
  • Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine
  • Add enough of the reserved pasta water to the pan to deglaze the pan and toss again
  • Turn off the heat and give the penne a light squeeze of lemon juice, and add the parmesan cheese
  • Toss one more time to combine, taste, and reseason with salt and pepper if needed – you can always add a bit more pasta water if it looks dry

Move it over to a pasta bowl and serve it up.

Wine Recommendation:  As I consider this chicken penne and chorizo recipe to have a Spanish influence, I’m going to suggest that you stick with Spain for the wine.  Try a Rioja, which is a red blend, and actually has a pretty wide range of styles.  A mid to low priced, youthful Rioja with some fruit and oak notes would be very nice.

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