20 Minutes 4 people
By Doreen Colondres
This is one of my grandmother Guelin's most popular recipes. Making this dish with her was almost a ceremony, as it was deciding who would grate her favorite cheese, “Holandés” (Dutch) and then sprinkle it over the finished product. In Puerto Rico, this dish is served with fried yellow bananas, which we call "amarillos", and, if there is room for more carbohydrates: garlic bread. Clearly, though, after eating it you had to run around the Island, which it is about 100 x 35 miles by the way... Ha, ha!
She makes her recipe with a whole chicken, because it gives much more flavor. I now do it with breast or thighs to cut the fat and to shorten the preparation time. You can use tomato sauce or paste, but my stomach is somewhat sensitive and, since I love the fresh produce, I’d rather use fresh tomatoes or canned organic tomatoes. Your call... here you go!
What you need to have:
- 1 pound cooked macaroni
- 3 pounds of chicken (with bone and skin)
- 1 1/2 pound fresh tomatoes chopped (or 28.oz of organic tomatoes in cans)
- 3 tablespoons of sofrito
- 1 envelop of seasoning with culantro & achiote
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- “Holandés” cheese grated to taste (use Gouda if you can't find this)
- Fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish
What you need to do:
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper or “adobo”, as it is done in Puerto Rico.
- In a large pot over a medium-high fire, drizzle the olive oil and fry the chicken only to "seal" it, say, to a golden brown on both sides, but not cooking it completely so that it doesn’t dry and lose its flavor.
- Remove the chicken; put it aside and lower the temperature to medium.
- Add sofrito and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the seasoning and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomato and sauté for 3 more minutes.
- Add the wine and let it simmer and reduced (evaporate) to about half of the original amount.
- Add the chicken to finish cooking so that all the flavors come together. The amount of time here will depend on the chicken cut that you are using.
- When the chicken is cooked, add salt and pepper to taste, then add cooked pasta to the pot and stir it all together.
- Serve the dish with cheese sprinkled on top, and coriander or parsley for garnish.