Jerk Chicken Pasta

One of my favorite Caribbean islands is Grand Cayman.  I’ve been many times, and was able to cook with Chef Manny at the Ortanique Restaurant where he taught me some delicious recipes using Caribbean ingredients with variations from other countries.  This Jerk Chicken Pasta was one of my favorites, and it’s a great dish to make for a crowd any time of year.

Ingredients (serves 10-12):

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp. Kosher salt
2 1/4 tsp. Cayenne
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup olive oil
2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
3 tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and chopped
2 cups heavy cream
salt and pepper
3 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, torn
1 pound penne pasta

Method: In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, Kosher salt, cayenne, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and olive oil.  Stir well.  Add the chicken and stir to coat with the marinade.  Cover and refrigerate at least one hour.  Remove chicken from marinade and discard any excess marinade.  In a large skillet, melt butter and saute the onion until soft.  Add the chicken and cook until just cooked through.  Add mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, red peppers and salt and pepper.  Stir and let cook for one minute.  Add cream and more salt and pepper, if needed.  Cook 8-10 minutes, allowing cream to simmer gently and reduce to a slightly thick sauce.  Sprinkle with scallions and basil.  Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.  When pasta is done, drain and add to the sauce.  Toss and serve hot.

MainsEvan Wei-HaasHolidays