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Mexican-Style Chicken with Penne

Adding a small amount of canned chipotle chiles in adobo (available at most supermarkets) makes a basic tomato sauce smoky and complex. Finishing the dish with queso blanco and chopped cilantro leaves intensifies the Latin flavor.


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  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 3/4 pound penne rigate
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch dice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 large chipotle in adobo sauce, seeded and minced, plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 pound queso blanco or mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated (1 1/3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook until al dente. Drain the penne.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add it to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat until the onion is softened and the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, chipotle and adobo sauce and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the corn, season with salt and pepper and cook until the corn is heated through, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the penne and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the sauce and toss to coat. Add 1 cup of the queso blanco and toss. Transfer the pasta to bowls, sprinkle with the remaining queso blanco and the cilantro and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Peppery Zinfandel.

Contributed By Photo © Kana Okada Published February 2008

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