Ruby Tuesday Sonora Chicken Pasta
By Todd Wilbur
Menu Description: "Penne pasta tossed in a spicy Southwestern cheese sauce, topped with grilled chicken, spicy black beans, scallions and more."
The delicious cheese sauce is easy to make using Velveeta and just a few other ingredients. The chicken is prepared over an open grill, then sliced before laying it over a bed of pasta and cheese sauce. And the black beans and peppers are added to give this dish a decidedly Southwestern taste.
Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.
This recipe is available in
- 1 pound Velveeta cheese spread (or 1 16-ounce jar Cheez Whiz)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons minced red chili pepper
- 4 tablespoons green chili pepper (1/2 pepper), minced
- 4 tablespoons minced onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 15-ounce can black beans
- Pinch paprika
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- Vegetable oil
- Pinch dried thyme
- Pinch dried summer savory
- 1 16-ounce box penne pasta
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 Roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
- 2 to 4 green onions, chopped
- Do This
1. Preheat your barbecue or stovetop grill to high heat.
2. Combine the cheese spread with the cream in a small saucepan over medium/low heat. Stir the cheese often until it melts and becomes smooth.
3. In another pan, saute the red chili pepper, 2 tablespoons green chili pepper, 2 tablespoons onion, and 1/2 clove garlic in the olive oil for a couple minutes then add the water to the pan so that the peppers do not scorch. Simmer another 2 minutes or until the water has cooked off.
4. When the cheese is smooth, add the sauteed vegetables, 1/4 teaspoon salt, sugar, vinegar, and cumin. Leave on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the other ingredients are ready.
5. Pour the entire can of beans with the liquid into a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining green chili pepper, onions, garlic, a pinch of salt, and a dash of paprika. Bring the beans to a boil, stirring often, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until everything else is ready. By this time the beans have thickened and the onions will have become transparent.
6. Rub the chicken breasts lightly with oil, then season with salt, thyme, and savory.
7. Cook the breasts on a hot grill for 5 minutes per side or until done. When they have cooked thoroughly, remove them from the grill and use a sharp knife to slice each breast into 1/2-inch slices, so that they are easier to eat. Retain the shape of the chicken breast by holding the slices together with one hand as you slice.
8. As the chicken cooks, prepare the pasta in a large pot filled with 3 to 4 quarts of boiling water. Cook the pasta for 12 to 14 minutes or until tender. Drain the pasta in a colander, and toss with the butter.
9. When everything is ready, spoon one-fourth of the pasta onto each plate.
10. Pour about 1/3 cup of cheese sauce over the pasta.
11. Carefully add a sliced breast of chicken on top of the pasta. As you place the chicken on the pasta, hold the slices together to retain the shape of the chicken breast.
12. Spread 1/3 cup of the black beans over the chicken.
13. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of chopped tomatoes on the beans.
14. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of green onions on the tomatoes and serve immediately. Salt to taste.
Tidbit: You can make a lighter version of this meal by using the lower fat version of the Cheez Whiz or Velveeta cheese spreads.