Tuesday, November 17, 2009
She does it again
Bel Aria Chicken and Pasta
Rachael Ray's Book of 10 Copyright 2009
1 pound rigatoni pasta I used Smart Taste penne
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/3-1 1/2 lb chicken tenders, cut into large bite size pieces I used breasts and cut them into smaller pieces
coarse black pepper
1/2 lb cremini mushroom caps, thinly sliced, or 4 portabello caps, gills scraped out, halved and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 Italian hot red cherry peppers, drained and chopped, plus a splash of the pickling juices from the jar I used hoagie spread which is just those peppers chopped very finely
1/2 C dry white wine I had no wine so I used chicken broth with a splash of cooking sherry
1/2 C grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more to pass at the table
handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped I bought the parsley but then I didn't feel like adding any to this
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. When it comes to a boil, salt it and add the rigatoni.
While the pasta is working, heat a big, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the EVOO and 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the chicken to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and brown for 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to a plate. It will finish cooking through when added back to the sauce later.
Return the pan to the heat and add another tablespoon of EVOO, the remaining butter, then the mushrooms and garlic. Cook until the mushrooms are tender, 10-15 minutes. Salt and pepper the mushrooms after they brown. Next, add hot peppers and a splash of the pickling liquid to the pan. Add the white wine and scrape up the pan drippings with a wooden spoon. Cook the wine down for a minute, then slide the chicken back into the pan. Cook together another couple of minutes to finish cooking the chicken through.
Just before you drain the pasta, add 2 ladles of the water to the skillet. The starchy water will help the sauce form and adhere to the pasta. Drain the pasta while it still has a strong bite to it, a little shy of al dente. It will continue to cook a little once it is combined with the sauce. Drain the rigatoni well and add it to the skillet. Turn off the heat and toss the chicken, mushrooms, and pasta together for a minute or two, sprinkling in 2 or 3 handfuls of cheese as you go, to allow the pasta to soak up the sauce and flavors. Garnish the pasta with lots of chopped parsley and pass extra cheese and crusty bread at the table.
It took me a while to warm up to Rachael Ray. One of the reasons was probably the inconsistency in her cookbooks. She has so many of them and they are all different from one another. Some don't have any recipes that impress me, others are full of recipes I want to try. I realize that she's been in the cookbook business since long before she was a big food celebrity and I would expect a difference in her earlier cookbooks but I'm surprised she hasn't grown into a particular style by now. That could just be a strategy to sell more cookbooks and it probably works. Some RR fans will buy anything with her name on it and the rest of us can pick and choose the ones we like. When I saw this one in Costco, I immediately recognized it was a good one for me and I brought it home.
This was another winner from RR. I've made recipes like this before but this version really popped due to the cherry peppers. That's such a nice way to add heat to a pasta dish. I put in enough to feel the heat but not enough to get in the way of enjoying this. The cremini mushrooms had a meatier flavor that regular white buttom mushrooms. I might be reaching for the cremini mushrooms more often now that I've realized that.
Am I the only one who feels like time has sped up recently? Where the heck did the first half of November go? This is insane.
Question of the Day: Do you like mushrooms? I've run across many people who don't care for mushrooms but I love them.