Wednesday, February 7, 2007

MNMC (On Tuesday!): Pasta & None of the Kings Men

The Monday Night Movie Club reconvened on Tuesday this week (strict rules are not our style). I was set on a comfort meal and—inspired by a delicious looking pre-packaged mix of oyster mushrooms at the grocery store, and a solid craving for red chard—I decided that risotto would fit the bill. Snag: Ralphs was out of Arborio rice. Le dismay. But the bow tie pasta was looking cute, and, recalling the bag of lemons hitting their limit in the refrigerator, I quickly redesigned my dinner to include Farfalle with herbed chicken, mushrooms and red chard in a Lemon Beurre Blanc. Light, flavorful and still a bit comforting. I don't usually make sauces for the first time without a good recipe to follow, so I must admit I was nervous when, on the first tasting, it was extremely tart. But the addition of fresh Parmesan and the mushrooms created a more mellow balance in the end, and the M.N.M.C. couldn't stop eating it! Especially Jett. After dishing out ice cream for dessert, we turned on All the King's Men. After 30 minutes of watching Tony Soprano attempt to erase the Jersey twang from the accent of his southern politician-bully character, we turned it off. Sean Penn momentarily grabbed us with his impassioned "nail 'em up" speech, but in the end, the indeterminable dialogue outweighed the beautiful shots and the promise of a turning point any time soon.

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, in bite-sized pieces
2 Cups mixed mushrooms (I used oyster and cremini)
1/4 C chopped shallots
1 T. garlic, chopped
1/2 C butter
1/2 C dry white wine
Juice of 3 lemons
1 C chicken broth
1 bunch red chard, roughly chopped
Herbs to season
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash mushrooms and dry well on paper towels. In a saucepan over high heat, combine lemon juice, wine, half the garlic, and half the shallots. Reduce liquid by half. Whisk in butter, until well combined. Remove from heat and set aside. (You can also strain the solids before whisking the butter, if a smoother sauce is desired.)

Sauté the remaining garlic and shallots in about 1 T. of olive oil over medium heat. When onions are translucent, turn the heat up to high, add the mushrooms and sear, until browned well and just beginning to crisp slightly. Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water, salted to taste like the sea, to boil.

In the same pan you used to sear the mushrooms, add 1 C. chicken broth and de-glaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits, keeping the heat at medium-high. Lower the heat to medium, add the chicken, stirring occasionally and seasoning with herbs to taste until meat is cooked through. (The liquid will continue to reduce.) When the liquid has reduced by almost half, add in the red chard, and stir until it begins to wilt, about 3 minutes. Drain the liquid and reserve. Set the meat/chard mixture aside.

Cook the pasta according to the directions. While the pasta is cooking, bring the sauce up to medium heat. Add in the reserved liquid from the meat/chard mixture to desired taste and consistency. (I like the complexity that the mushroom/chard/chicken broth reduction gives the sauce.) Be careful not to add too much, though. If the sauce is too tart, you can whisk in more butter, or a dash of sugar to remove a bit of the tang. Salt and pepper the sauce to taste.

Coat the pasta with about 2/3 the sauce to start. Add in the chicken/chard mixture, the mushrooms, and about 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Stir in more sauce, as desired, mixing well. Serve immediately. Is great with a simple, mixed green salad.

1 comment:

bigsticks said...

best meal i have ever consumed. in my life.