Baja Chicken Pasta ~ A Mexican twist on your favorite cheesy pasta with salsa, black beans, mushrooms, onions, peppers, and spices in a two cheese sauce.This is my attempt at recreating a favorite dish from a local favorite restaurant, coincidentally titled Baja Chicken Pasta too. This is my third attempt. It is still not exactly like the restaurant’s, but OH MY GOSH, this is truly delicious. I’ve decided this is the recipe I had to share and I will simply go to the restaurant when I want their version.
This is, by no means, a healthy eating entree. Sure there’s some chicken and some black beans, a few mushrooms, but an entire package of cream cheese and a hearty handful or two of shredded cheese pretty much cancel out the nutrition. Every now and again though, that’s exactly what the doctor orders.Ok, the doctor metaphor might be a bit much, but I think even Mr. or Ms. Doctor M.D. would enjoy this decadent dish every now and again. It’s hearty and utterly satisfying.
The sauce itself is so good, I could have just drank it. Quality assurance or um, taste-testing was at an all time high with this dish. It’s a good thing I have a 36-pack of tasting spoons in a jar next to my stove for such purposes. This will serve 6 people, but I promise you’ll want some for leftovers. I’ve been known to snag a bite straight out of the fridge and this Baja Chicken Pasta dish passed my good-when-cold-test. If the sauce is too thick for your liking, thin it out with a bit of broth or milk. This is the best way to reheat it as well. It will solidify when cold–hello cheese, so when I rewarm it, usually on the stove in a pan, I add a bit of broth or milk to thin it back down and help it heat thoroughly.
Baja Chicken Pasta
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 lbs chicken breast; cubed
- Salt/Pepper to taste
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 large bell pepper; chopped
- 3 cloves garlic; minced/grated
- 8 oz sliced mushrooms
- 2 1/2 cups broth
- 8 oz pkg cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cup salsa
- 3/4 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chile powder
- 1/2 tsp taco seasoning
- 1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
- 1 cup diced green onions; some reserved for garnish
- 1-15 oz can black beans; drained and rinsed
- 1 lb pasta; cooked
Bring a large pot of water to boil, salt it and cook pasta one minute short of package directions.
Once hot, add the oil to a large skillet or pot over medium high heat.
Add the chicken and get a nice sear on each side, about 5 minutes.
Add salt and pepper, stir well.
Stir in the onions, bell peppers, and garlic; cook for 3-4 minutes
Stir in the mushrooms, cook an additional 3-4 minutes
Add the broth and cream cheese, stirring often to help dissolve the cheese into the liquid.
Sprinkle in the seasonings, including a bit more salt and pepper while stirring, and the salsa. Make sure it is fully combined.
Slowly incorporate the shredded cheese, stirring constantly.
Add the green onions and pasta, stir well and allow it to get to a medium simmer/bubbling, and reduce the heat to medium and maintain a low simmer.
Allow to cook together for 5 or so minutes, until the pasta has finished cooking, then add the black beans, gently folding them in to the dish.
Taste for seasoning, add any salt and pepper as needed.
Once the beans are heated through, remove from heat.
Serve and enjoy, garnishing with the reserved green onions.