Yay! It’s time for the April Spiked! Challenge! This month’s boozy surprise is Limoncello! Just for fun, I knew I wanted to do a savory dish with this sweet lemony liqueur.
And because I wanted to be able to control the sweetness of the Limoncello, I decided to make my own. And then just for giggles, I came across some Meyer Lemons (a cross between a lemon & a mandarin orange) and decided to use those!
Once I got the Homemade Limoncello out of the way, it was on to the recipe!
Since the Limoncello had a vodka base, I decided to make a lemony twist on a vodka cream sauce!
Needless to say, the pasta was delicious. The sweetness of the Limoncello highlighted the natural sweetness of the tomatoes while lending a lovely lemon undertone to the whole dish.
Chicken & Pasta in Limoncello Cream Sauce
Inspired by Serious Eats
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp dried basil
Salt & pepper, to taste
6 tbsp Homemade Meyer Limoncello (recipe follows)
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
¾ cup half and half
12 oz rotini or penne pasta, cooked
Place half of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken, turning once, until both sides are brown (chicken need not be cooked through), remove from the pan and set aside, slicing into bite sized pieces when cool.
Heat the remaining olive oil in the same skillet. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender. Add the garlic, cooking for one more minute.
Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, crushed red pepper and Limoncello. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the chicken pieces and bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Just before serving, stir in the half and half and heat through. Stir in the cooked pasta and serve.
Homemade Meyer Limoncello
Recipe from The Kitchn’
1 ½ cups 80 proof vodka
Zest from 6 Meyer Lemons
½ cup water
½ cup granulated sugar
Place the vodka and zest in a mason jar. Set aside for 1 week (or up to 1 month) into infuse the flavors.
Strain the zest out of the vodka by pouring the mixture through a fine strainer lined with a coffee filter.
In a small saucepan, mix together the water and sugar. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
Add about ½ cup simple syrup to the infused vodka (using more for a sweeter, more diluted Limocello). Pour the Limoncello back onto the mason jar and store in the freezer.