Have you ever had a neighborhood restaurant that you love? You know the one that is easy to get into, is reasonably priced, and the food is delicious? Are you like me and order the same thing every time you visit? Then one day, you move across town, and your weekly staple is no longer easily accessible. You crave and covet that one dish while you begin to realize you took it for granted while you had it. You try to find it in other restaurants, but it’s just not the same. That is exactly what happened to me when we moved out of Santa Monica, away from Fritto Misto, my favorite westside Italian restaurant. We a had good reason to move. We were buying our first house. If you know anything about LA, you know you typically don’t buy your first house in Santa Monica. Oh no, you buy your first 350 square foot condo that smells weird, or you move out of Santa Monica. We moved.
The dish I loved so much was the atomic pasta. There is just something about it. It is creamy and really spicy, but a good spicy. You know, the kind that you don’t realize when you first bite into it, but on the finish it leaves a heat that makes you crazy to take the next bite? This dish was perfection and after years of trying, I could not find it in another restaurant. I decided to give it a try and replicate it in my own kitchen. I have put my version of this recipe into an official format, but please keep in mind that this was an experiment. Most of the spice measurements are eyeballed. If you like more or less paprika, etc., by all means, adjust to your taste.
Cajun spiced chicken paired with a creamy sauce and fettuccine.
Prep time: 15 mins. -- Cook time: 15 mins. -- Total time: 30 mins.
- 1 red bell pepper sliced thin
- 1 yellow bell pepper sliced thin
- 1 red onion sliced thin
- 4 cloves of garlic diced
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
- pinch of thyme, oregano, smoked paprika and dried, ground chipotle
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 lb. dried fettuccine - preferably flavored (spicy) cooked, drained
- Slice vegetables, set aside
- Combine all spices in a small dish
- Wash and pat dry chicken
- Rub chicken all over with spices (you will probably have some left over)
- Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat
- Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan
- Add chicken and cook on medium high heat on one side for about 7 minutes. Flip chicken, reduce heat slightly, cover and cook until chicken is cooked through (internal temperature should be 165℉). Remove and set chicken aside.
- In same pan, add vegetables and cook until very tender
- Add cream to vegetables and heat through
- Add cooked pasta and stir to combine and heat through.
- Transfer pasta and vegetables to bowl. Slice chicken and serve on top of pasta.
By Jennifer Jaras
Adapted from Fritto Misto, Santa Monica, California
This dish was an experiment that turned out wonderfully. It has the same slow heat and smooth creaminess of the original. Making this recipe took me back to that time and place in our life. We were just starting off, exploring the city and loving every moment of it. It’s a great memory for us and I’m so glad that I’m able to take us back down memory lane without the hassle of the 405 & the 10 freeway. That’s what I love so much about food. Sitting down to a meal with your loved ones should be appreciated as a moment in your life. You may remember the delicious dish, but more importantly I hope your food memories also include good times with the people you love. Enjoy and create your own food memories tonight!