Why is it called Rattlesnake Penne Pasta?
Well, Rattlesnake Penne Pasta doesn't really have rattlesnake meat in it. It's just a name, but then you all knew that anyway. This dish is always a favorite on restaurant menus and now it can be a favorite dish in the comfort of your dining room. Although it looks complex and full of ingredients, it is quite simple to make, but be forewarned, you had better make enough of it because seconds and thirds are a definite probability with this dish. The quantities mentioned here should suffice for a dinner of four.
1 16 oz box of dry Penne pasta noodles
2 large boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1 inch cubes
1 1/2 pounds of Mexican or Italian sausage, cut in 1/2 inch thick slices
2 large red or yellow bell peppers, cut in 1 inch cubes
1 large white onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
8 button mushrooms (brown or white), sliced
1/4 cup of chopped parsley
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (for heat)
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons of flour (sifted)
1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of chicken stock
2 cups of shredded Gruyere or aged Swiss cheese
In a large skillet that is at least 3 inches deep (or you can use a large pot), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and saute for about 5 minutes until slightly browned. Remove the sausage and set aside.
Next, saute the chicken until it begins to brown. Remove and set aside with the sausage. In the same pan, add the onions and the bell peppers. Saute over medium heat for 5 minutes or so and then add the garlic. Lower heat to medium low and sprinkle the flour to cover the onions. Stir well for about a minute and then add the chicken stock. The stock should begin to thicken pretty fast. Be sure to stir and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze. This will add flavor to your dish.
Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper, along with the pepper flakes and stir well, lowering heat to low. Now add the cream and stirring, blend everything well. Add half of the shredded cheese and stir so that it melts into the sauce. Your sauce should now be a nice thick and creamy texture. Taste for flavor.
In a large pot, bring enough water to a boil to cook the pasta. Add a bit of salt (1 teaspoon) to the water. Cook pasta until it is al dente. It will continue to cook a bit more when you transfer it to the sauce. While the pasta is cooking, add the sausage and chicken back to your pan and stir everything well so that all is incorporated into the sauce. Cover and continue to cook on low or simmer while pasta continues to cook.
After about 8 minutes or so, the pasta should be about ready. Test it for the proper texture. Remove the pasta with a slotted spoon and add it to the sauce and stir everything well. If you need to, add a tiny bit of the pasta water to your dish and stir. Finally, add half of the parsley and stir, cover the pan, and let simmer for a couple of minutes.
Serve on a large deep plate and sprinkle the remainder of the parsley and cheese. This dish is guaranteed to please everyone! You can finish it off with a crisp greens in a simple olive oil vinegrette and a nice bottle of white wine of your choice. Enjoy!