Copycat CPK Kung Pao Spaghetti
Copycat California Pizza Kitchen Kung Pao Spaghetti
I love California Pizza Kitchen. CPK has some of my favorite food. My very favorite dish that I order every time I go is the Kung Pao Spaghetti. I think that I have finally mastered a copycat CPK Kung Pao spaghetti recipe. This version is a little more family friendly. The dried chilis that are part of the CPK version are eliminated from this recipe. I added crispy chicken tenders to my copycat CPK Kung Pao spaghetti. You can use chicken or if you like you can use shrimp. While this recipe is more family friendly , it is a little on the spicy side. The printable version of this recipe is at the end of this post. I included some tricks and tips to making this recipe below.
Ingredients For The Copycat CPK Kung Pao Spaghetti
This recipe requires very few ingredients. All of the ingredients can be found at your local grocery store. If you can’t find the exact brands, substitutes are fine. Here is what you will need to make the copycat cpk kung pao spaghetti:
- Breaded chicken tenders, you can buy these in the frozen food section. I used the Purdue Whole Grain brand because they were on sale. You can use whatever brand you choose. Ready made chicken tenders on the hot bar at most grocery stores work well too!
- Kung Pao sauce, the brand I used was from Panda Express. Kung Pao Stir Fry Sauce. They now have a line of sauces available in retail. This is not the required brand to make this sauce, just make sure you have about 18.75 ounces.
- Green Onions
- Fresh Ginger
- Panko Breadcrumbs, Panko is a Japanese style bread crumb. It can be found in the Asian/Ethinc food aisle.
- Sesame Oil, found in the same aisle as the panko.
- Peanuts and Jalapenos (optional)
Air Fryer Versus Oven
The chicken strips cooked perfectly in my air fryer. It was done in minutes. If you do not have an air fryer, cook the chicken according to the package directions. Additionally, this may add a little time to the recipe. If you do not want to use crispy chicken, you can use grilled chicken as well. I liked the crispy chicken strips for the texture it added to the dish. If you are interested in buying an air fryer and want more information, I use a Go Wise Sir Fryer. Mine is from Amazon for $64. Originally, I bought it to experiment with it for my readers. I never imagined that I would use this air fryer as much as I do. I use it nearly every single day.
Sesame Oil & Panko Breadcrumbs
These two ingredients may be new to you. If you are unfamiliar, you can find both of these ingredients in the ethnic food aisle of your local grocery store. Both of these ingredients are perfect in the copycat cpk kung pao spaghetti recipe due to their texture and flavor. These two ingredients add a fancier flavor profile to this dish without having to spend a lot of time.
Copycat CPK Kung Pao Spaghetti
- 6 to 8 frozen, breaded chicken tenders
- 1 jar of Kung Pao sauce, I used the one made by Panda Express
- 4 green onions, sliced thin and the white and green parts divided
- 2 teaspoons of ginger, minced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 T of Jalapeno, minced (optional)
- 1 C of panko breadcrumbs
- 3 T of sesame oil (divided)
- 1/4 C of water
- 1 16 oz box of spaghetti
- 1/4 C of crushed peanuts (optional)
- Cook your chicken tenders according to the directions on the bag or box. When they are cooked and crispy, chop the chicken into bite sized pieces.
- Get your pasta boiling according to package directions.
- Add 2 T of the sesame oil to a deep sided skillet. Let it warm but not have it smoking hot.
- Add your white parts of the green onion, the garlic, the ginger and the jalapeno (if using) to the oil. You do not want to fry this, you simply want to toss it in the oil until it is warm to bring our the aromatics. I let this sit in the oil on low heat for about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add your bottle of Kung Pao sauce to the skillet, make sure your heat is on low, add the 1/4 cup of water and whisk this all together. Let this simmer for about 10 minutes.
- In a small skillet, add the rest of your sesame oil and your panko and toast the panko until it is golden brown. Be careful, the panko browns quickly. When it is browned, remove from heat.
- Add your chicken to the skillet sauce and toss the chicken to coat.
- When your pasta is done, drain and add the pasta to the sauce and chicken. Toss to coat and let it sit on low heat while tossing for a minute or two.
- Plate the pasta and chicken, top with the green onions and a tablespoon or so of the panko. You can add the crushed peanuts if you're using to the top of the pasta.
I made this recipe using the air fryer to cook the chicken, you can bake it or fry it according to package directions if you do not have an air fryer.
Dinner Is Served
You will see that this recipe is perfect for a weekend instead of getting takeout or a busy weekday dinner. This recipe is so easy to make. As a result, you will find yourself making it often. In addition to being easy to make, it is also very affordable. It makes a great dinner and also makes a great lunch the next day. I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we do! Thank you for reading and happy eating!
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