I eat pasta every day. When I’m working, it’s the quickest thing to throw together for the crew that is filling and somewhat healthy. Our prep guy, Feliciano, can suck down a bowl of pasta big enough for a lineman in about two minutes flat. He always takes his food outside and no one sees him eat, but before I can even get my silverware, he comes strolling through the door with an empty bowl. It’s simply amazing.
That being said, sometimes I just can’t eat more pasta. There are days when I would rather eat my shoe than anything resembling Italian food for lunch. Today I was craving Vietnamese food and this is what I came up with using ingredients from our kitchen. My apologies to Vietnamese food purists…
1 yellow onion, fine diced
1 red onion, julienned (or diced…I was in a hurry)
2 tbsp. sliced garlic
1/2 bulb fennel, fine diced
2 Calabrian chilies (jalapenos are ok)
1 tbsp. chili flake
1 star anise
1 stick of cinnamon
3 qts. of chicken stock (or low sodium chicken broth)
1/2 roasted chicken, pulled
2 cups of blanched spaghettini
Sprigs of basil and balsamic reduction or saba for garnish
Sweat down the onions, garlic, fennel and chilies in two tbsp of olive oil. Add star anise and cinnamon and cook for another three minutes. Add chicken stock, bring to a simmer and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for fifteen minutes. Add chicken and simmer for ten minutes. Add spaghettini and cook for another two minutes. Serve with a ladle and warm bowls. Serve garnishes along side.
This serves 4-6 people as long as you’re not eating with Feliciano.