There are two kinds of people in this world, those who like cilantro, and those who hate it. I am a cilantro lover and as such, it’s difficult for me to understand why some people have such an aversion to it. What, exactly, is so offensive about it?
Then again, I should probably keep my mouth shut, as my food aversions list is rather long.
If you’re looking for a quick weeknight dinner, give this dish a try. If you prefer starving to cilantro, simply skip it in this dish.
This dish really works well with whole grain pasta and added vegetables, to turn it into a balanced meal. The sweetness of the bell pepper pairs very nicely; some julienned carrots would add a nice crunch to mix up the textures a bit. The best part? The leftovers are even better.
Many thanks to my friend Betsy for sending this recipe my way!
Sesame Chicken Pasta
adapted from all recipes
1/4 c sesame seeds
1 (13 ounce) package whole wheat fusilli
1/2 c canola oil
1/3 c light soy sauce
1/3 c rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 T white sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 lb pkg boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch strips
1/3 c chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 c chopped green onion
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Heat an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add sesame seeds, and cook stirring frequently until lightly toasted. Pour sesame seeds into a bowl and set aside.
3. Return skillet to stove and increase heat to medium high and drizzle the skillet with olive oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to hot pan. Brown on first side, about two minutes, and flip chicken over. After about a minute, place pan in oven. Check the temperature of the chicken after about 12 minutes. Remove from oven when temperature registers 160-165 F or when chicken just barely springs back when touched. Remove to a plate and cover with foil.
4. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook for 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl.
5. While pasta is cooking, combine vegetable oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, sesame seeds, ginger, and pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well.
6. Pour sesame dressing over drained pasta, and toss to coat evenly (doing this while the pasta is still hot will allow it to absorb the flavors of the dressing).
7. Shred chicken. Gently mix chicken, red pepper, cilantro, and green onions with the pasta mixture.