Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Beige food. Is there anything more comforting?
Sure, I could have upped the visual appeal by chopping up some parsley to sprinkle on top, but I didn't want parsley. All I wanted was a little Parmesan and a lot of pepper, and it's all this beautiful bowl of pasta, chicken, mushrooms and a wonderful cream sauce needed to become a security blanket for my stomach.
I took a lot of liberties with Thomas Keller's recipe:
- I had a package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs still in the fridge because I forgot to put it in a paella last week, so I used that as my protein rather than the beautiful braised short ribs called for in his original recipe. That's going to be something to try again for later.
- I completely read the recipe wrong, and only bought 1 lb. total of mushrooms rather than 1 lb. each for the sauce and pasta. I didn't think the sauce needed more, but a couple more of bites of golden seared cremini in the pasta wouldn't have hurt.
- The sauce, in all its mushroomy, creamy glory, called for another 1/3 c. of creme fraiche in the original recipe. I would have likely slipped into a food coma after the first bite of that, so I opted to skip. Don't worry - it's still plenty rich!
The dish is just so familiar and good. It's your childhood, it's happy memories, it's simple, it's delicious.
adapted from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc At Home
For the sauce:
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 T. butter
2/3 c. chopped onion
3 c. heavy cream
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper, to taste
For the pasta:
2 T. butter
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced (more, if desired)
1 lb. farfalle
salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan, for garnish
1. Make the sauce: Melt 1 T. butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the 8 oz. chopped mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
2. Pour in the cream, add the bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to keep the cream at a simmer, and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the cream is reduced by about one-third.
3. Meanwhile, melt another T. of butter in a large saute pan. Add the chicken and cook without disturbing for 3 minutes, until golden brown. Flip and continue cooking until done. Remove the chicken to a large plate. Add any remaining juices into the cream sauce pan.
4. Melt the remaining T. of butter in the now-empty pan. Add the remaining sliced mushrooms and cook without disturbing for 2 minutes, until golden brown. Toss and continue cooking until all the liquid has evaporated. Add the mushrooms to the plate of chicken.
5. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the farfalle to al dente. Drain and set aside.
6. When the cream sauce has reduced, discard the bay leaves, and pour the sauce into a blender. Blend until smooth.
7. Combine the pasta, chicken and mushrooms in the saucepan, and add enough sauce to thoroughly coat (you'll have extra - I did). Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.