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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Party Food: Baked Chicken Parmesan and Longganisa Pasta in White Sauce

Hey partyphiles! I have decided to share with you two new recipes that go well together. One is a very simple, Italian-inspired dish, and the other is a Pinoy (filipino) style pasta made with native sausage we call Longganisa.

This is the first time I'll be sharing back-to-back recipes, but you can make the dishes separately, but these two compliment each other, i think.

Ingredients for Baked Chicken Parmesan: Chicken, Tomato Paste (or Tomato Sauce, or both), Dried Basil, Dried Oregano, Salt, Pepper, cheddar Cheese, Parmesan Cheese, Parsley

Season your raw chicken with salt and pepper. For this batch i used a whole chicken, but chicken breasts or fillets usually work better. However, i season chickien fillets more, because i find that it has less flavor. After seasoning, brown in some oil making sure thatr the chicken is mostly cooked through. If there are visible streaks of blood, you could either take your time and cook it through or just leave it be. You will still be baking this, so it will still cook through in the oven.

After browning your chicken, put the pieces in an oven-safe pan, making sure not to over-crowd it. Set this aside.

In another pan, saute garlic and bell peppers (or capsicums) until the garlic has turned brown and tender. Make sure to put the garlic on your COLD pan, and THEN add the oil and turn on the stove. This gives your garlic enough time to release its natural oils, instead of burning immediately after being dumped in hot oil.

Add in some tomato paste and tomato sauce. You could choose to use tomato paste only, or tomato sauce only. However, i like how the tomato paste lends such a deep and tangy tomato flavor to the dish, and how the tomato sauce is less acidic, and has a milder flavor. If you ahd to choose between the two, choose tomato paste and add some water or chicken stock to make a sauce
Add in some basil and oregano. If you are using dried herbs like I am, make sure that you rub the spices between your palms to get the oils out.

Once you have reached a consistency and taste that you like, take the sauce off the heat and pour it over the chicken pieces you have set aside in an oven-safe pan.

Add some cheese slices and top with parsley.

Cover your pan with aluminum foil if it does not come with a lid and then pop it in the oven for a couple of minutes to cook it. After the chicken is cooked through (this should take 5-10 minutes), remove the lid and bake again so the cheese could melt and get toasted.

While waiting for your chicken to bake prepare the following ingredients: Basil leaves, Longganisa (or any type of sausage available to you), onions, garlic, milk, pepper, paprika

Saute your garlic and onions in a pan.

Once your garlic and onions have become tender, add in your diced longganisa. I used left-over longganisa for this batch, so it was already cooked.

Once the longganisa has been cooked, add in some milk.

Once your milk has boiled, add in some bay leaves (laurel leaves), salt and pepper (for this one, i used white pepper, which has a stronger taste than black pepper, but i don't appreciate little black specks on my cream sauce).

Once the sauce is perfectly seasoned (according, of course, to your taste), add in some paprika, just to add another level of flavor and some color, to the otherwise, very white sauce. If you do not have paprika, try turmeric or local atsuete.
Your sauce should be good to go. It is time to get some pasta boiling(ideally though, you should have been cooking your pasta at the same time you started cooking thios sauce). Take this time to check on your chicken. If it is perfectly done by the time you finish making this sauce, leave it in the oven so it stays warm.

It should look something like this:

Get a portion and plate. Serve it with your longganisa pasta. I sprinkled some parsley on my pasta, and more cheese on my chicken, just for presentation purposes. The pictures are not as good as i had hoped them to be, but trust me, they taste DELISH!!! Try it today, and if it works well, serve it on your next party. If it doesn't, contact me and i'll talk you through it.

I hope you enjoy this one!