Here’s a dish that sounds like it might be complicated but is really, really easy to make. Lots of times I will want to make a cream sauce for pasta, but I get sort of tired of the usual. This has a slight tang to it and it’s tasty.
Here’s what you need:
- 1lb Farfalle pasta (or penne)
- 1 Onion
- 1.5lb boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
- 3/4c Heavy Whipping Cream
- 3T Butter
- 1T Dijon mustard
- 3T Rice Vinegar (or white wine)
- 1.4c grated Parmesan cheese
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
If you use your time wisely while the pasta water is coming to a boil, you can get it all done pretty quickly. The trick is to get ready while the water is boilng, and then do everything at once. Here’s how to make it.
- Start the salted pasta water boiling
- Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces, each about the size of a small walnut. Season aggressively with salt and pepper
- Dice onion (use this onion slicing method)
- When the pasta water is at a rolling boil, heat a saucepan over medium high heat. When it is hot, add olive oil to coat the bottom, and let the oil heat until it shimmers. Toss in about 2TB of butter and let it melt.
Up to this point you can take it easy. But now that the oil is ready, it’s go time! Tell everyone you’ll be eating in about 15 minutes.
- Add the chicken pieces to the hot saucepan. There’s a trick to this! Use tongs to place them one at a time, quickly, so that they are covering the bottom of the saucepan. They should be sizzling. Start the timer so you know how long the chicken is cooking.
- Add pasta to the pasta water
- Let the chicken pieces sit. DO NOT check them! After four minutes, try turning one over with tongs. If it turns easy and is browned on one side, then you can turn the rest. If not, wait one more minute and turn them all. Do this quickly so they are all pretty much turned at the same time.
- Meanwhile, be mindful of the pasta water! When it’s boiling, start a timer for 11 minutes. (This will prbably be about halfway through the chicken part, but it depends on various factors.)
- Let the chicken cook for one minute on the second side. Remove them and set them aside in a bowl.
- Drain the saucepan of oil and turn the heat to medium
- Add 1TB of butter and the onions. Salt the onions so they will break down. Let them soften for 2 minutes. Add the 1T of Dijon mustard and mix it around for 1 minute.
- Deglaze the pan with the rice vinegar or white wine. Just a little bit! Scrape up all the bits and let the liquid boil a bit.
- Pour in the heavy whipping cream and let it come to a boil so it starts to reduce. (Stir it!) Add in a handful of Parmesan cheese, and lots of pepper.
- Once it has reduced, lower heat to low and add the chicken (and whatever juices have drained into the bowl). Let it warm for one minute.
- Drain pasta, pour into saucepan, and then turn that out into a large pasta bowl for serving.
- Mix the pasta a bit so it is covered with the sauce (but don’t bury the chicken pieces, which should stay at the top when you flip the saucepan). Top with pepper and Paremsan cheese.
Enjoy! This is tasty with some Italian country bread.