Pasta with Chipotle Cream Sauce

Morita chiles are red, fully mature Chipotles. This gives them a unique, medium – hot smokey flavor which is popular in many Southwestern dishes. These can be added to sauces (including Mole) to add smokey flavor and maintain the red color of the sauces. These peppers are about 2-4 inches in length, 1 inch in width, and have a deep brick reddish brown color. The word Chipotle translated to smoked chile. Consider the Chipotle a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the hottest). Scoville heat units 7,000-25,000.

Suggested Use:
Use Morita in enchilada sauces, chili, stews, barbecue ribs, and corn bread. Their smoky quality combines well with poultry, meats and fall squash.

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Serves: 4

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 – 14.5-ounce cans fire-roasted tomatoes
3 chipotle peppers, rehydrated in hot water, then drained (reserve 2 Tbsp of soaking water)
1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
½ cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 cup cotija cheese, grated
16 ounces pasta, uncooked

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Preheat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about five minutes.

Briefly puree the tomatoes, chipotles and soaking water in a blender or food processor. You should leave the mixture a bit chunky.

Add the tomato mixture to the sautéed onions and garlic, along with the smoked paprika, and bring to a simmer.

Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook according to directions.
When the pasta is finished cooking, drain and set aside. Add the heavy cream and ½ cup of cheese to the tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the pasta to the skillet of sauce and stir gently to combine.

Serve topped with chopped cilantro and additional grated cheese.

Slightly adapted from