Often at my job, I have plenty of spare time to write - well, that's all you can do, since you can't use a computer for your own purposes, can't bring a book, can't listen to an audiobook or watch a movie. Instead, the only things I have found to do to help stay busy other than just chatting, are either drawing (which some of my coworkers do), or writing. It's an odd experience, writing when you don't have access to the internet, since you are so used to constantly having the internet at your fingertips, where you can constantly look up things, but when you write on paper you have to just trust what you know and write, without being worried about what thoughts might lead you to look up something online, or to check what you've written. In a certain sense, it is liberating: I quite enjoy writing on paper, and it is something which this practice has helped me rediscover.
What sort of food recipes do you tend to get out of such idle musing, passing the time? Odd ones for sure! You tend to just combine ingredients as they come into your mind, and in this case, what sprung forth was the idea of a combination of molé sauce and fettucine noodles. One of my favorite recipes is pasta in a pesto basil cream sauce, a rich combination of fettucine noodles in pesto, typically with prosciutto, olives, and often mushrooms - and so it made me think about what it would be like to marry fettucine noodles with molé, the famous Mexican group of sauces, and which so far have been the only Mexican food which I have found I am any good at cooking - my efforts to make Chimichangas I remember, were a complete disaster!
Persevering despite doubts, and a good but not-quite-perfect initial recipe where I decided that prosciutto and olives did not go well with the mole, I hit upon what I think is my penultimate version of the recipe. The ole sauce on its own is too intense, but that's the perfect pair for the fettucine noodles, which on their own lack sufficient flavor. Combine that with corn, black beans, shredded chicken, crumbled tortilla chips, cilantro, and some quesadilla cheese to sprinkle on top, and the whole thing really bursts with flavor, with a delightful different texture and complexion at every bite, and with the rich chocolate-spicy-savory combination of the molé sauce a great ever-present element within. What's more, it's surprisingly quick to cook, since many of the operations can be done at once - you can be making the mole at the same time as the pasta, beans, and corn, the three of which all cook together in the same pot, and provided you have a rotisserie chicken everything else just gets thrown on at the end! Just on my first time making it I was able to make a truly huge bowl in just 40 minutes, and I bet with some additional tries I could get it down to 30 - a surprisingly delicious but fast weeknight meal.
This recipe is my own, but I did use a mole sauce recipe from Gimme some Oven for the mole.
For pasta and accompaniments:
- 2 9 ounce packages fettucine noodles
- 1 pound frozen corn
- 1 15 ounce can black beans
- 1 cup minced cilantro
- 1 pound shredded chicken, (such as from a rotisserie chicken)
- crumbled tortilla chips, for topping
- quesadilla cheese, for topping
For molé sauce:
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 white onion, peeled and diced
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder, (chili powder seems to vary a lot, use how much you think is good)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon oregeno
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon tomato pasta
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- To prepare the mole sauce, first heat oil in a large skillet. Put in the peeled and diced white onion, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add in the jalapeño pepper, cored and diced, and the garlic, and then sauté a few minutes longer before adding the spices such as cinnamon, flour, cumin, oregano, and chili powder. Turn off the heat, remove from heat, and add the vegetable stock.
- Purée until smooth, either using an immersion blender or transferring it to a blender.
- Return to skillet if removed and return to heat, add in the peanut butter, tomato pasta, cocoa powder, and salt, stirring until it is all combined. Continue to cook a few minutes as it reduces.
- Simultaneously, boil salted water for pasta. When it begins to boil, put in the frozen corn, which has been defrosted. Then put in the beans. A few minutes later, finally put in the fettucine noodles. They should all finish cooking around the same time. Once done, remove from heat, drain, and run cold water over.
- Put this all into a bowl, and add in shredded chicken, probably taken from a rotisserie chicken. It is perfectly fine if it is cold, as it will be heated up by the surrounding ingredients and the mole.
- Add in the mole, and toss it all together. Top with the cheese, chopped cilantro, and crumbled tortilla chips. Serve.