I hadn't made this peanut sauce for about 6 months until a few weeks ago when my friend Tina came over to watch France beat Portugal and go on to the final game with Italy. Tina is lactose intolerant so I was racking my brain for a special yet easy dish sans fromage or cream. I remembered how much I loved this pasta and decided it needed a comeback.
This recipe gets its inspiration from about 3 different recipes. Rachael Ray made a good looking chicken satay stir-fry that I liked, but it was a bit too sweet or something. I looked around and found a few other variations for satay-type sauces and this concoction is great since the ingredients are most likely in your cupboard. You can use this sauce as you would for a stir fry and serve it over rice, but I really enjoy it more over pasta. Feel free to swap the vegetables or meat with whatever you'd like. I've used leftover pork tenderloin instead of the chicken and I bet it's great with beef, too.
Spicy Peanut Pasta with Chicken and Veggies
1/2 lb. linguini
2 chicken breasts
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 thin green onions, optional, sliced
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup to 2/3 cup peanut butter
2-3 Tbsp honey
2-3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1-inch chunk ginger, peeled and grated
3 Tbsp garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsp red chili paste
a few dashes tabasco or other hot sauce
juice of 1 lime wedge
1/3 cup chopped cilantro (coriander), divided
First make the peanut sauce. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk until smooth. Add the chili paste and/or Tabasco and stir until combined. Taste for seasonings. Add more chili or tabasco for more heat. I've never used natural peanut butter in this, but I would guess you will need more honey if you use that. The sauce will seem thin at first, but it thickens as it cooks. Don't boil the sauce but keep warm. Stir in the lime juice and half the cilantro just before serving.
Saute the chicken breasts in olive oil for about 5-7 minutes per side, or until done. Remove to a plate and slice thinly.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously and cook the pasta according to the package directions. I enjoy the texture of linguini, but you can use whatever pasta you like. I do find that angel hair is too thin for this sauce which is rather thick.
In a large bowl, combine the chicken, veggies and pasta. Mix well. Pour enough peanut sauce over the pasta to just coat it and toss the pasta well. Plate the pasta with a few strips of chicken on top and a sprinkling of the remaining cilantro. Serves 3-4.