This Chinese five spice chicken and noodles combines Asian flavors with delicious Italian bucatini for a perfect pantry meal.
As the world braces itself during this global pandemic, there is a lot on our minds. Like many of you, my emotional state is a roller coaster of hopeful highs and anxious lows.
I experience moments of reveling in this new “work from home” world. I get to have lunch with my husband everyday, enjoy walking breaks, and laugh at the various COVID-19 memes floating around. Then suddenly my mind becomes anxious. I wonder if things will ever go back to normal or if my friends and family will stay healthy.
When those moments of fear strike I turn to God and cooking. My first recourse is a silent prayer and a scan through Psalms. Scripture reminds me of God’s sovereignty and protection and I take solace knowing, “all the days ordained for me were written in [His] book before one of them came to be” (Psalms 139: 16).
As the constant prayer of protection and gratitude is on my heart, I turn my attention toward inventing new ways to cook the ingredients stashed in our kitchen.
Inspired by an unopened jar of Chinese Five Spice in my spice drawer, I take inventory of the kitchen to concoct a fun new recipe to cook. My search reveals some frozen chicken breast, a pound of bucatini, and celery that’s on the brink of spoiling. A small amount of soy sauce and leftover chicken broth inspire me to make a sauce and I start cooking.
The result is phenomenal five spice chicken and noodles! An Asian inspired chicken sauce with celery, carrots, and cashews glaze a bowl of perfectly cooked bucatini. The bucatini provides the perfect texture for this bowl of Chinese/Italian fusion. Enjoy and good health to you all!
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast (or thighs), thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Chinese 5 spice powder
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 ¼ cups chicken broth (separate the cup and ¼ to use at different times during the cooking process)
1 cup shredded carrots
½ pound bucatini pasta
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
½ cup cashews
¼ cup sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
¼ cup fresh scallions, sliced for garnish (optional)
Heat olive oil in a shallow dutch oven or heavy bottom sauce pan, over medium heat for 2 minutes.
Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add the celery and continue to cook until the celery is beginning to soften and the onion is lightly browned around the edges.
Add the chicken, increase the heat to high, cook until the chicken is no longer pink and starting to brown, 6-8 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium high, add 1 teaspoon salt, the garlic, 5 spice seasoning, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant, 2-3 minutes.
Add the soy sauce, carrots, and 1 cup of the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes over low heat.
While the chicken is simmering, fill a pot ⅔ full with tap water and add 3 tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil over high heat (note: the water boils faster if you cover the pot with its lid).
When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta, bring the water back up to a boil and cook, uncovered, for 1 minute less than the lowest time recommended on the package.
Start testing the pasta at this point and cook until it’s al dente.
Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, drain the rest of the water and transfer the pasta back to the pot in which you boiled it.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the remaining ¼ cup of chicken broth, cornstarch, brown sugar, and sesame oil. Mix to fully combine.
Stream the cornstarch mixture into the chicken, add the cashews, and cook until slightly thickened, 5-6 minutes.
Toss the cooked pasta with the chicken and sauce, adding small amounts of pasta water if necessary to loosen the sauce. The sauce should just glaze the noodles and the chicken should be evenly distributed throughout.
Serve the chicken and noodles in bowls, garnish with sesame seeds and scallions. Serve hot.