Thursday, January 12, 2012
One of my New Year’s resolutions this year is to do more cooking. I usually do a lot of baking and desserts and not a whole lot of cooking (thank God for fast food and pizza!). Here is my first step towards my resolution!
On our first visit to California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) the first weekend of December, we ordered this delicious pasta dish and I have been meaning to try replicating it ever since. I finally found a copycat recipe on Food.com and it was amazing. Tastes just like the original if not better. It looks like a long ingredient list but it is really easy to make. All you do is throw all the sauce ingredients into a pot and simmer, cook the chicken and pasta then toss it all together. I did omit coating the chicken with the egg white-cornstarch mixture and deep frying it and it tasted great.
CPK’s Kung Pao Spaghetti
Serves 4 | adapted from food.com
Kung Pao Sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup dry sherry
3 tablespoons red chili paste with garlic
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or white vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
Egg White-Cornstarch Mixture (optional)
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lb spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
10 -15 whole Chinese dried red chili peppers (optional)
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1/4 cup minced garlic
3 cups green onions, chopped
1. Kung Pao Sauce: In a medium saucepan, whisk together the chicken stock and cornstarch until the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Stir in all the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.
2. Egg White-Cornstarch Mixture: In a mixing bowl, use a whisk to stir together the egg whites, cornstarch, and salt until thoroughly blended; be careful not to beat them into a froth. Set aside.
3. Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick frying pan over high heat, heat enough olive oil for deep-frying for about 1 minute. Add the chicken pieces to the Egg White-Cornstarch Mixture and toss to coat them. Taking care to avoid splattering, add the coated chicken to the pan and cook like a solid pancake until the egg mixture sets; then, using a large spatula, carefully flip the chicken pieces over together and, with a wooden spoon, gently separate the pieces. [NOTE: I didn’t do this step. I just pan-fried the chicken without the egg white/cornstarch mixture].
5. Gently stir the Chinese peppers and roasted peanuts into the pan. As soon as they darken in color, after no more than 1 minute, stir in the garlic and scallions. Once the garlic begins to brown, after no more than 30 seconds, add the Kung Pao Sauce and toss and stir to coat the ingredients.
6. When the pasta is ready, drain it well and, in a large mixing or serving bowl, toss it thoroughly with the sauce.