Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tried and True Mushroom Pasta with Chicken (and my two cents on Rachael Ray)

This is one of my all time faves and Joe loves it too. The original recipe and inspiration came from Rachael Ray.

I know there are a lot of different opinions out there about dear old Ray Ray, but I for one, love her. No, she is not the most skilled chef on the Food Network, yes her hand motions and dialogue (especially in her earlier episodes) can be annoying at times, and yes, she does use "E.V.O.O.", even when its more appropriate to use canola, but I like her!

Her approach to cooking is so laid back, that when I first started cooking, she is the first cook on FN that I really followed. To this day, my style is very similar; I don't follow recipes exactly, I rarely measure anything and I hate to bake. While I've become more daring with the dishes I will take on, I still love my tried and true favorites of hers.

The recipe I follow is, of course, a little bit different, for no reason other than I don't reference the original recipe and make adaptations.

For her original dish, click here.


(for 2 servings)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Any kind of pasta, enough for 2 people
7 or 8 little portabellas (3 or 4 if you have the big kind)
1 shallot (chopped)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1/2 cup white wine
fresh thyme
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup milk or cream
olive oil
fresh chives

- Pan sear the chicken (seasoned with salt and pepper) with olive oil. Transfer to a baking sheet and finish off in the oven (only about 10 - 12 minutes at 350) until cooked thoroughly.

- Saute the shallots, garlic and mushrooms over medium heat in the same pan chicken was seared in with the olive oil and season with salt, pepper and fresh thyme

- Get your pot of boiling water going to cook the pasta in, everything else will wrap up quickly so this is a good time to add it.

- After the mushrooms soften (about 10 minutes), add about a couple of spoon shakes worth of flour until the mushrooms are well coated.

- Pour in the wine and let cook down and incorporate with the flour.

- Whisk in the chicken stock to make a gravy and let cook a few minutes until thickened.

- Mix in the milk or cream

- Finish the dish by layering the cooked and drained pasta, then the finished chicken breast and finally, the mushroom gravy, garnish with the fresh chives