Confetti chicken pasta is a “recipe” my I-can-make-anything-with-what’s-on-hand momma whipped up back when I was little. It took no time for this to become a family favorite and now she makes it with a rainbow of bell peppers and a spicy cream sauce each time.
Actually, I don’t have her recipe (she’s probably afraid I’d share it… hehe), but I do have a very clear memory of what Confetti Chicken is supposed to taste like. Most of my cooking is that way and I learned how things should taste from the best cook I know!
For me dinner is about sitting down with your family to something that might have taken hours to make, but only a few minutes to eat and savor. You always want more, but there’s no room in your belly so you wake up the next day thinking about those delicious leftovers you’ll have for lunch. Its about layering flavor – opening up the fridge to see what you have on hand that will work well together – and whipping up something you want to eat again and again! (psst…. you are getting a peek of the kitchen in the new place we’re renting)
Here are all the colorful veggies and chicken heading into the sauce and pasta!! Don’t mind the Amy vs. Oven burn on my right hand. That happened the last night before we moved when all was packed and nothing was left in the freezer but a frozen pizza and no utensils…
Here’s the version of Confetti Chicken Pasta that I made last night, but feel free to switch out the type of cheese, veggies and shape of pasta depending on what you have in the house (or what’s on sale!) as I frequently do.
Confetti Chicken Pasta Recipe
Veggies & Pasta
16 oz. of Whole Wheat Penne Pasta (always cook al dente in salt water according to pkg directions)
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut in 1″ cubes
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
½ c. Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, long thin slices (mom uses red, yellow and orange…)
1 c. Broccoli florets
1 c. Asparagus, chopped in 1″ pieces
1 c. Grape tomatoes
Cook your pasta and let it drain. (tip: I always add a bit of olive oil to my pasta water during cooking so the noodles don’t stick together). Sprinkle the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook chicken until done and golden on all sides. Remove and let rest in a large bowl.
Add the remaining olive oil and begin sauteing the onions for 2 min. Add in the garlic and bell pepper and saute another 2 mins. Then toss in any other woody veggies (broccoli, asparagus) saving the tomatoes until the very end.
When everything is cooked, combine the veggies with the chicken in your big bowl. (I’m all about reducing dishes here) Now its time for the sauce!
Spicy Cream Sauce
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour (I used whole wheat)
2 c. half & half
1/4 tsp. of red pepper flakes
1 c. Feta cheese (mom uses Parmesan)
In the same pan you cooked the chicken and veggies in, melt the butter over medium heat. Toss in the flour and stir, cooking 1-2 minutes. (We are making a roux)
Slowly add in the half and half while stirring to prevent any clumps from forming. Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes and allow to simmer until you see boiling action. Stir periodically.
When your sauce begins to thicken and bubble, turn off the heat and add in your cheese. Stir until melty (yes that’s a technical term).
To assemble everything I like to add the pasta first so it gets nice and coated with sauce and then pour the rest of the goodies in. (see photo above). This makes enough for 4 people (or two if you want lunch the next day!)
Ok, I’m hungry now, time to start on tonight’s dinner….