Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pasta con verdure e pollo

Last night I had a difficult time figuring out what to cook that included the three main food groups (grain, produce, poultry).  I came up with this fun, easy and positively delicious recipe as if I pulled it out of a magic hat!  Some of the best recipes are born that way.  Too bad the title isn't as good as it tastes.

Ingredients: 
-2 large pieces chicken breast
-1 small package of cut or whole crimini mushrooms
-1 zucchini
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-4 cups chicken broth
-1 cup dry white wine
-salt
-pepper
-2tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1 tsp Italian seasoning
-1/4 cup white flour
-wax paper

Steps:
1. If the chicken is not already clean out of the package, rinse it and cut off excess fat with a small knife
=Caution: dealing with raw chicken can spread harmful bacteria.  Be sure to wash hands and surfaces that come in contact with the chicken before touching anything else!
2. Place the chicken and chicken broth into a deep surface pan
3. Cut a piece of wax paper to completely cover the pan (make sure to mold the paper around the pieces of chicken to create a barrier)
4. While the chicken is cooking, dice the onions and garlic finely
5. Wash the zucchini thoroughly to remove sand from the skin (a vegetable scrubbing brush will work)
6. Use a damp paper towel or regular clean towel to wipe off any dirt from the mushrooms
**Rinsing the mushrooms in water will cause them to absorb unwanted water
7. Dice the mushrooms and zucchini into even bite-sized cuts
 8. Pour extra virgin olive oil into a large pan and place the onions and garlic atop
**Place them in at the same time to keep the garlic from burning
9. Let the garlic and onion cook on medium until they are lightly golden (stir frequently)
10. Place the mushrooms and zucchini in the pan and let them cook until they're soft
**Don't let them get too soft, but you shouldn't hear a crunch if you bite into them
 11. Pour white wine into the vegetable pan, then add the seasonings
 12. Boil half a pot of water for the pasta
 13. Once the vegetables have absorbed the wine and seasoning for several minutes, check on the chicken
 14. If the chicken is still pink on top, let it cook until it is completely white from center to surface
 15. By now, the water in the pot should be boiling. Add the pasta along with 2 tbs salt and 1/2 tsp olive oil and cook for as long as necessary (thin pasta usually takes about 8 minutes to be al dente)
**Al Dente is Italian for rice or pasta having a slight bite
***The extra virgin olive oil is meant to keep the pasta from sticking together

 16. Place the chicken in a separate bowl and pour the remaining broth into the vegetable pan.  Change heat to low
 17. As the sauce simmers, slowly add the flour while stirring so that it doesn't clump together (this thickens the sauce, if you want the consistency to be thicker, simply add more flour)
 18. Once the pasta is finished, strain the pasta and place a small mound in a bowl
 19. Cut the chicken in slices and place along the pasta with the vegetable sauce

Enjoy!

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