Coconut Fusilli with Pineapple, Cranberries and Shredded Chicken

The Southern husband and I have this thing going on called “The Restaurant Project.” At least I call it that — I think he calls it going out to dinner to a new place that involves the GPS every Saturday night. Actually, he doesn’t call it anything at all, but he is a great sport about letting me call the shots on the Saturday night restaurant every week, and at some point I decided that we needed to start experimenting with someplace other than our beloved barbecue joint…and thus The Restaurant Project was born, and it goes like this.

I started looking through local blogs and websites for restaurant ratings, and handily enough I was doing this at the exact right time of the year, because I started this little project in January when lots of place were doing their yearly round-ups and top ten ratings and so on. (For those of you in the northern New Jersey area, there are some links at very end of this post.)

Anyway, as part of the project we have been to a different place almost every Saturday night, and so this past Saturday we went to RoCCA in Glen Rock, New Jersey. Where they had this amazing dish on the menu that was, yep, Coconut Fusilli with Pineapple, Cranberries and Shredded Chicken. And so I went home with a mission: Recreate That Recipe!

So I took some grilled chicken…

Sprinkled on some dried cranberries…

And some chopped fresh pineapple.

At this point I realized that I had forgotten to get red onion, which made me hop up and down in frustration for a minute or two, but then I pulled myself together. (If I had a red onion, I would have sliced it and sauteed it really slowly in olive oil until it was soft, so let’s just pretend I did.) Then I put some coconut milk and cream of coconut into the skillet where the imaginary red onion was and heated it to simmering.

Next I added a slurry of one tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons of cold water to the simmering coconut sauce and simmered it until it was thick and creamy. I added the chicken mixture to the coconut sauce, added some flaked coconut, gave the whole thing a stir and voila! Pretty much good as the original — although I may have to go back a few times and test it. So with thanks to RoCCA, here’s my version.

Coconut Fusilli with Pineapple, Cranberries and Shredded Chicken

Coconut Fusilli with Pineapple, Cranberries and Shredded Chicken
  • 1½ cups cooked shredded chicken
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup cream of coconut
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 8 ounces cooked fusilli
  • ½ cup flaked coconut
  • Fresh ground pepper
  1. Combine chicken, cranberries and pineapple in bowl, set aside.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat, add onion and cook until soft. Add coconut milk and cream of coconut and heat until simmering.
  3. Add dissolved cornstarch and stir until slightly thickened.
  4. Add pasta and chicken mixture to skillet and heat through
  5. Stir in flaked coconut and fresh ground pepper.
  6. Divide among plates and serve. 2009 Best Of Bergen.
tommy:eats Best Of List



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  1. The Broad says

    Since NJ is a little too far for us to do a night out in a new restaurant, I will be happy to copy as best I can with the ingredients at hand.. your recipe.

    I looked at the Best of list .. fun to see so many names that I still remember and how great that Baumgarts is still popular !

    Finding the dried cranberries is going to be a b*tch for me here :)

  2. Joanne says

    My roommate and I did something similar in college where we went to a different Boston restaurant every weekend. We wanted to taste the world. This pasta looks delicious! So unique!

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