Saturday, February 9, 2008

Pappardelle with Chicken & Mushrooms

Growing up in New England, many of us know what it's like to endure bitter cold winters that seem to last well into April. When we were kids, a little tomato soup from a can somehow melted away the chill that crept into our bones during the hours of sledding, snowmen and snow angels.

Though we're not kids anymore, one thing remains constant-our need for warm comfort food to help us make it through. This is a rich and creamy pasta dish that is best served with good friends on a cold winter day…


½ oz. Dried Porcini Mushrooms or 1 C. chopped White Mushrooms
¾ C. Warm Water
2T. Butter4 Scallions, Chopped
1 Garlic Clove, Crushed
1 small handful Parsley, Coarsely Chopped
½ C. Dry White Wine
1 C. Chicken Stock
14 Oz Pappardelle, Dried or preferably Fresh
2 Chicken Breasts, Cut into thin strips
7 T Mascarpone Cheese
To Taste Salt and Pepper
Basil leaves, Chiffonade for Garnish


1. Soak the dried mushrooms in the warm water for 15-20 minutes. Squeeze them to release as much water as possible. Finely chop them and set aside. If you are using white mushrooms, saute them in a little butter to soften them, about 5-7 minutes.

2. Melt butter in a medium skillet. Add chopped mushrooms, garlic, parsley and scallions. Season to taste. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes.

3. Pour in wine and stock; bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until liquid reduces and is thickened.

4. While sauce is reducing, begin cooking pasta in salted water. *Add reserved mushroom liquid for extra flavor.

Note: Fresh pasta is always the preferred choice and should be used whenever it is available. If you are not up to experimenting yourself, have Dave's Fresh Pasta in Somerville make it for you.
5. Add the chicken to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes or until just tender. Add the mascarpone a spoonful at a time, stirring well after each addition. Then add 1-2 spoonfuls of the pasta water. Check seasonings and adjust as needed.

Note: To make this dish even more creamy and rich, add more mascarpone. The results will be fantastic and will indeed invoke many compliments and most importantly, a request for seconds from your guests. How much should you add? Use your intuition--that's what cooking's all about, anyway...

6. Drain pasta and turn it into a large bowl. Add sauce and chicken and toss well. Serve immediately with shredded basil leaves.

What to drink? Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, or Riesling.

Recipe from The Pasta Bible by Jeni Wright. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

No comments: