Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chicken Pecan Fettuccine

Pan seared chicken breast in a buttery cream sauce tossed in fettuccine noodles with Parmesan cheese and toasted pecans.
Pan seared chicken breast in a buttery cream sauce tossed in fettuccine noodles with Parmesan cheese and toasted pecans.

Chicken Pecan Fettuccine

During the Christmas holidays last year, a popular food blogger posted a cranberry sauce recipe that very often, at least down south, has pecans in it, though this midwestern blogger could not understand why anybody would want to do that! Why everybody down south knows why... it's because pecans are good of course! And generally speaking, plentiful around here, though it seems less so these days.

Growing up, I can remember my Mama getting those big ole paper grocery bags from folks on The Point in Biloxi who kept pecan trees and would sell them on the side for some extra Christmas money. The bags would be overstuffed with whole pecans fresh off the tree and just waiting for eager hands to crack them. In fact, so many folks were selling pecans in those days that in order to compete for sales, for a slightly higher cost, you could often find them already cracked. Then all you'd have to do would be to pick them.

Let me tell you though, that cracking is some hard finger work, so naturally Mama took on the brunt of that as we kids, if we even bothered to help at all, quickly got bored. But, seeing as this occurred right before the two major holidays, we knew some goodies would be coming from those pecans - Mama's Finger Cookies, Fresh Apple Cake, and of course, the ultra-famous holiday pastry, Pusharatas, just to name a few!

We do tend to include pecans in many recipes in the south - both sweet and savory - and I suppose in places that many cooks not from the south might indeed find odd. Oh well, just one of our southern quirks I guess, but take my word for it, in this pasta recipe adapted from Southern Living, it really works! Enjoy.

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Recipe: Chicken Pecan Fettuccine

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 30 min |Cook time: 20 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 12 ounces fettuccine noodles
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • Pinch freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1-1/2 cups of the water, and return pasta to pot. In a separate large skillet, melt a tablespoon of butter and add the pecans; toast over medium high heat until crisp and aromatic; set aside for garnish.

Add oil to the skillet over medium high heat and cook chicken until browned. Add to drained pasta and toss. Add the green onion to the skillet and cook until softened; add garlic and cook another minute. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Pour over the drained pasta and toss.

To the skillet, add the butter, half and half, parsley, salt and pepper; warm through. Pour over the hot fettuccine and mix well, adding additional pasta water if too dry. Add the Parmesan cheese and toss. Transfer to a large pasta platter or individual plates and sprinkle with the toasted pecans. Serve immediately.


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©Deep South Dish
Adapted from a Southern Living cookbook recipe
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Posted by on July 29, 2009
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