Sunday, January 10, 2016

Penne Pasta with Vodka Sauce Chicken and Sausage

Penne Pasta with Vodka Sauce Chicken and Sausage

Chicken and Sausage Penne Pasta with Vodka Sauce
This flavorful Italian pasta dish will solve any type of hunger and craving you may have. This version of Penne Pasta uses a baked brined chicken, both chicken breast & thighs, as well as rich and flavorful Andouille sausage.  The rich Vodka sauce has a unique twist because I used a Serrano pepper to add some life to it.  ARIBA! 

Chicken Brine:
Plan ahead, it's best if the chicken sits in the brine at least overnight.
2 Chicken Breasts, Thighs or combo of both
2 cups water
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbl spoon salt
1 tbl spoon black pepper
1 tbl spoon sugar
bay leaf
1 lemon cut in quarters
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp cloves or Marjoram
Bring all of these ingredients to a boils and let simmer about 10 minutes.
Pour into a medium size bowl with ice.  This will cool it down.  Salt and pepper the chicken and place in a zip lock baggy - 1 gallon freezer type for strength.
Pour the cooled brine (everything from the bowl - not just the juice) into the baggy and cover all of the chicken.  Squeeze the air out, zip it up and place in refrigerator overnight.
Baked Chicken:
I prefer to bake the chicken ahead of time so that it can cool.
Preheat oven to 425.
Remove chicken from the Brine and place in a baking pan.
Bake the chicken for about 30 to 40 minutes or until chicken reaches 165 degrees.  Do not over cook or it will be dry.
Penne Pasta with Vodka Sauce - Ingredients, directions and Prep:

Here's what you need:
Cooked chicken - Chopped in 1/2 inch pieces.
Andouille Sausage - about one pound chopped
Chopped / Diced Chicken and Sausage
1 can crushed tomatoes or puree
1 can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 Cup Vodka
1 red bell pepper chopped small
1 yellow bell pepper chopped small
1 Serrano pepper chopped very small
1/2 onion chopped small
1 tbl spoon Garlic or minced Garlic
1 cup Italian Cheese Blend
Diced peppers and onion
Penne Pasta
Dried Basil
Dried Oregano
Garlic Powder
Instructions for Penne Pasta with Vodka Sauce:
In a medium to large pot, cook the Penne pasta till al dente.  Drain and return the pasta to the pot but do not return to the heat.

In a large skillet heated with a 1/2 cup Olive Oil, sauté the Onion, peppers and garlic for about 5 minutes.  Add the Vodka and let cook about 5 minutes to reduce a little.  Add the tomato products.  Stir well and let it come to a simmer.  Start adding the seasonings above and taste test as you go. 
Cook for about 10 minutes and add the heavy cream. 

 Cook for another 10 minutes and adjust the seasonings accordingly.  Add 1/2 cup of the Italian cheese blend to the sauce and cook for another minute or two. 
Pour the sauce into the pot over the Penne Pasta and fold in to fully incorporate the sauce with the pasta.  Top with the other 1/2 cup of cheese.  Sprinkle a little extra Basil and stir.

Add the chicken and sausage and stir well to fully incorporate everything.