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California Pizza Kitchen's Kung Pao Spaghetti
Serving Size: 4

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

Cooking Directions:
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (preferable homemade)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup dry sherry
3 tablespoons red chili paste with garlic -- (available in jars
at specialty food stores or Asian markets)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Asian toasted sesame oil
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
=== PASTA ===
1 pound dry spaghetti
1/2 cup olive oil -- plus
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts -- cut 3/4" cubes
20 whole Chinese dried red chili peppers
1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
1/4 cup minced garlic
3 cups coarsely-chopped scallions -- greens and whites
cut into 3/4" pieces

To Make the Kung Pao Sauce In a medium saucepan, whisk together the
chicken stock and cornstarch until the cornstarch has fully dissolved.
Stir in all the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil over
medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is thick
enough to coat the back of a spoon, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.

To Make the Egg White-Cornstarch Mixture: In a mixing bowl, use a small
whisk to stir together the egg whites, cornstarch, and salt until
thoroughly blended; take care, however, not to beat them into a froth.
Set aside.

To Prepare the Pasta: Being a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil.
Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 8 to 9 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large nonstick frying pan over high heat, heat the olive
oil for about 1 minute. Add the chicken pieces to the Egg
White-Cornstarch Mixture and toss to coat them. Taking great care to
avoid splattering, add the coated chicken to the pan and cook like a solid
pancake until the egg mixture sets; then, using a large spatula, carefully
flip the chicken pieces over together and, with a wooden spoon, gently
separate the pieces.

Carefully stir the Chinese peppers and roasted peanuts into the pan. As
soon as they darken in color, after no more than 1 minute, stir in the
garlic and scallions. Once the garlic begins to brown, after no more than
30 seconds, add the Kung Pao Sauce and toss and stir to coat the

When the pasta is ready, drain it well and, in a large mixing or serving
bowl, toss it thoroughly with the sauce. Serve family-style or transfer
to individual serving bowls, artfully arranging the chicken, vegetables,
and peppers.

Variation with shrimp: For the chicken, substitute 20 medium shrimp,
peeled and deveined.

This recipe yields 4 to 6 servings.

Comments: "Imagine eating Chinese food with American music playing in the
background." That's the clever way Adam Hoffman, a host at the CPK in
Tarzana, California, describes Kung Pao Spaghetti to guests. Adds his
colleague Aric Mizrahi, a server there, "This is a perfect pasta for
people who love spicy food." Not suprisingly, this authentic Asian sauce
with a Western pasta twist is selling off the charts at the CPK in
Singapore. If you're not familiar with it, let us caution you and your
guests to avoid eating the whole dried chili peppers.

© 2008
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