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…
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