Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gourmet Texas Pasta Review and Giveaway: Featuring Blood Orange-Sesame Chicken Lo Mein

One of my all-time favorite foods is pasta...it tastes great, it’s quick to cook, and it’s so versatile that you can use it like a canvas to create a culinary masterpiece. For my first giveaway of 2012, I recently discovered a fantastic gourmet pasta company located right here in Texas: Austin-based Gourmet Texas Pasta. They’re partnering with me for a review and giveaway of their amazing artisan pastas. They had me pick several flavors to try in my kitchen. It was really difficult to narrow it down from all their fantastic varities....but I selected the following flavors:

  • Szechuan Orange Spice Linguine
  • Coconut Red Curry Fettuccine
  • Cabernet Sauvignon Fettuccine
  • Chocolate Lasagna Noodles

My package arrived a couple of days later in perfect condition, and I was very impressed when I read the nutrition label. Their pasta is made with whole wheat and all-natural flavoring ingredients, including real veggies and herbs...and they’re high in fiber to boot! Each serving of the flavors I received averages 8 grams of fiber. I couldn’t wait to get into the kitchen and create a fun dish...but which flavor to choose first? I’ll be featuring all four flavors in here during February, but the Szechuan Orange Spice really caught my eye. To me? It just begged to be made into a spicy lo mein!

I don’t cook Asian food at home that often, so I did a bit of cookbook research to see which flavors would go well with this pasta. In the end, I created an original recipe for Blood Orange-Sesame Chicken Lo Mein. I really wanted to showcase the orange and ginger flavors in the pasta. I used lots of healthy veggies and chicken breast... then I started combining flavors for a yummy sauce! I combined blood orange juice and zest, soy sauce, fish sauce, chicken broth, fresh ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and sesame oil into a flavorful sauce that really brought the entire dish together. The end result was so good that Michael said it could’ve come from a restaurant.

Blood Orange-Sesame Chicken Lo Mein
a Weekend Gourmet Original Recipe

Step 1:  Bring salted water to boil in a large stockpot. While the water is coming up to temperature, make the sauce. Combine the following ingredients in a small bowl: 1/2 cup chicken broth, the juice and zest of one blood orange, 2 tbs. soy sauce, 2 tbs. fish sauce, 1 tbs. chili-garlic sauce, 1 grated garlic clove, a 1-inch section of fresh ginger (grated), 1 tbs. sesame oil, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Whisk to combine and set aside.

Step 2:  Combine 3.5 cups of veggies of your choice. I went to my local salad bar and bought the following already prepped: sliced mushrooms, julienne zucchini, broccoli florets, and diced carrot. I added slivers of sweet yellow onion, 2 sliced green onions, and some diced water chestnuts that I had at home to make 3.5 total cups of veggies. 

Step 3:  Slice 3/4 pound boneless chicken breast into bite-size strips. Add 2 tbs. soy sauce, 1 tsp. dried ginger, and a few grinds of black pepper...toss to combine. Set aside while you heat up your wok or skillet. Add 1 tbs. sesame oil and 1 tbs. canola oil to a large skillet or wok, over med-high heat. Once the pan is hot, your pasta water should be boiling. Add 8 ounces Texas Gourmet Szechuan Orange Spice linguine and cook for six minutes. 

Step 4: When the pan is hot, add the veggies and stir fry for about 3 minutes. Add the soy-ginger chicken and cook for another 3-4 minutes...until the chicken is cooked and the veggies are tender-crisp. Add 1 tbs. cornstarch to the reserved sauce mixture and whisk to combine. 

Step 5:  Reduce heat to med-low and pour the sauce in the pan, giving a quick stir. The sauce will thicken in 1-2 minutes. Drain the cooked noodles and add to the pan. Toss to thoroughly combine all the ingredients. Turn off heat and let the lo mein sit for a few minutes so the flavors can combine. To serve, place some of the lo mein in a bowl and top with toasted sesame seeds.

I was very impressed with the flavor of this pasta...I tasted a few strands of the pasta on its own before tossing it with the lo mein ingredients. The citrus and spice flavor was delicious...but not at all overpowering. The pasta gave a great depth of flavor to the overall dish when combined with the blood orange sauce. The sprinkle of sesame seeds at the end gave the dish a nutty flavor that complimented the sesame oil. We served the lo mein with our favorite takeout egg rolls. I can’t wait to try the other three flavors and share a few more recipes over the coming weeks...I’m really trying to step outside the box with that chocolate lasagna dessert pasta!!

Now...for the giveaway details. Gourmet Texas Pasta is going to give one of you THREE gourmet flavored pastas from their awesome collection!! Take a look at some of these flavors:
  • Spicy Cajun
  • Chili and Cilantro
  • Tomato Basil Garlic
  • Tomato Spinach Garlic
To enter, simply visit the Gourmet Texas Pasta website...then come back and leave a comment telling me which three flavors you want to try. For a second entry, you can Like Gourmet Texas Pasta on Facebook. Please make sure to leave a SEPRATATE comment for each entry...I use a random number generator to pick the winner, so I want to make sure both your entries count. Don’t forget to leave your e-mail address on at least one comment so I can find you if you’re the lucky winner. Entries will be accepted until this Friday, and I will announce the winner next Monday. Good luck!

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