Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Spinach, Artichoke and Chicken Penne, Green Salad

This recipe is from Rachael Ray. I'm trying it this week because it sounded very delicious!

1 pound penne rigate or whole wheat or whole grain penne rigate
3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 small pieces)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
3-4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
Black pepper
2 slightly rounded tablespoons flour
1/2 cup dry white wine (I'll be using chicken broth)
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup cream or whole milk
A few grates of nutmeg
1 box chopped frozen spinach (10 ounces), defrosted, wrung dry and separated
1 can artichoke hearts in water (14 ounces), drained well and chopped
1 cup grated Asiago or provolone cheese
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water and cook the pasta to al dente.

Meanwhile, poach the chicken: Place the chicken in small pan and add water to the top of the meat, but do not cover completely. Add the bay leaf and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and gently simmer to cook through, 10-12 minutes. Shred the meat into small pieces with forks or dice into small pieces. Set aside.

While the chicken cooks, heat the EVOO in large, deep sauté pan over medium heat. Melt the butter into the EVOO, then add the onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle the flour over the cooked onion and garlic and stir for 1 minute, then whisk in the white wine. Add the stock and stir for 1 minute, then stir in the cream and season with nutmeg. Thicken the sauce for a couple of minutes over low heat, then stir in the spinach and artichokes and heat through. Melt the Asiago or provolone cheese into the sauce and turn off the heat.

Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce and chicken to combine, adjusting the salt and pepper to your taste. Garnish with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Serve with a green salad.

*The whole family enjoyed this recipe the night we made it. If I were to change anything, I would have probably made less pasta or more sauce (increasing the butter, flour, and milk). Unfortunately, the leftovers weren't as good as the first night we made this; the spinach and artichoke flavors were a little overwhelming by the next day. I'd suggest scaling the recipe to make just as much as you think you will eat in one sitting.

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