Aaron McCargo's recipes

Barbecue Penne Pasta (above). Family-Style Curry Chicken Salad Platter (left).
Barbecue Penne Pasta (above). Family-Style Curry Chicken Salad Platter (left).
Posted: June 23, 2011

BARBECUE PENNE PASTA

1 pound mini penne

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups diced onions

4 to 6 cups shredded, store-bought rotisserie chicken (one 3-pound chicken or two 1 1/2-pound chickens)

1 quart hickory-smoke-flavored barbecue sauce

12 slices bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled

1/2 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a medium saucepan, cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente. Drain, do not rinse, and set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions and cook, stirring, until they soften and start to brown, about 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 11-by-9-inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the chicken, 3 1/2 cups of the barbecue sauce, the bacon, scallions and cooked onions. In another bowl, stir together the cheeses.

Spread a third of the pasta mixture in the prepared dish and top with a third of the cheese. Make two more layers of pasta and cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is browned. Remove from the oven, drizzle with the remaining 1/2-cup of barbecue sauce and serve. Serves 6.

FAMILY-STYLE CURRY CHICKEN SALAD PLATTER

2 cups Ultimate Chicken Salad (see recipe below)

1 1/2 cups green grapes

1/2-cup chopped scallions, white and green parts

1/2-cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons mild or hot curry powder

4 cups mesclun salad mix (two 10-ounce bags)

2 cups cubed fresh pineapple

2 cups cubed ripe cantaloupe

2 cups cubed ripe honeydew

1 pint grape tomatoes

1 cup cucumber slices

In a large bowl, mix the chicken salad with the grapes, scallions, mayonnaise and curry powder.

In the center of a large platter, arrange the mesclun to create a bed for the chicken salad. Spoon the chicken salad over the greens and top with the pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew, tomatoes and cucumber slices. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6 as a main dish, 8 to 10 as a side salad.

ULTIMATE CHICKEN SALAD

6 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken-breast meat (three -five boneless whole breasts; 1 1/2 to 2 pounds total)

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/4-cup finely diced onion

1/4-cup finely diced celery

1/4-cup sweet pickle relish

1 bunch (about 1 ounce) fresh chives, chopped

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce such as Tabasco

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the mayonnaise, onion, celery, relish, chives, Worcestershire sauce, salt, hot pepper sauce and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to two days.

Source: Simply Done, Well Done by Aaron McCargo Jr. (Wiley, $19.95).

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