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Kung Pao Spaghetti

Contributed by: JR Fent

I fell in love with California Pizza Kitchen's version of this dish. I ordered a cookbook from them online and it did not have the recipe in it! So I started to create my own version. Crossing what I figured out with some other people making postings on the web, I have a great rendition for you to try at home...

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 3 tablespoons red chili paste with garlic (available in jars in specialty food stores or Asian markets)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Asian toasted sesame oil

For the Egg White-Cornstarch Mixture

  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Pasta

  • 1 pound dry spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup plus two tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 20 whole Chinese dried red chili peppers
  • 1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped scallions (greens and whites cut into 3/4-inch pieces)

Directions:

To Make the Kung Pao Sauce:

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the chicken stock and cornstarch until the cornstarch has fully dissolved. Stir in all the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.

To Make the Egg White-Cornstarch Mixture:

In a mixing bowl, use a small whisk to stir together the egg whites, cornstarch, and salt until thoroughly blended; take care, however, not to beat them into a froth. Set aside.

To Prepare the Pasta:

Being a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 8 to 9 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large nonstick frying pan over high heat, heat the olive oil for about 1 minute. Add the chicken pieces to the Egg White-Cornstarch Mixture and toss to coat them. Taking great care to avoid splattering, add the coated chicken to the pan and cook like a solid pancake until the egg mixture sets; then, using a large spatula, carefully flip the chicken pieces over together and, with a wooden spoon, gently separate the pieces.

Carefully stir the Chinese peppers and roasted peanuts into the pan. As soon as they darken in color, after no more than 1 minute, stir in the garlic and scallions. Once the garlic begins to brown, after no more than 30 seconds, add the Kung Pao Sauce and toss and stir to coat the ingredients.

When the pasta is ready, drain it well and, in a large mixing or serving bowl, toss it thoroughly with the sauce. Serve family-style or transfer to individual serving bowls, artfully arranging the chicken, vegetables, and peppers.

Variation

With shrimp: For the chicken, substitute 20 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined.

Serving Size: Makes 4 Servings


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