Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Recipe: Chicken and Fettuccine in a Garlicky White Wine Sauce

In my last post, I shared my recipe for basic pasta dough and some basic instructions for using a pasta maker, and this post features the recipe I chose to highlight that delicious fresh pasta. Homemade fettuccine pasta form the base for salt-and-pepper-seasoned chicken breasts, sauteed and then cooked in a sauce of white wine, garlic, tomatoes, and olive oil, with just a splash of cream. The sauce is creamy, yet light, and so rich and flavorful, and it clings beautifully to the pasta and chicken. More than likely, you already have all of the ingredients you need at home, and this is a really easy dish to pull together (of course, I made homemade pasta, which made it take a little longer, but regular boxed pasta obviously works just fine).

Serves: 4
Prep. time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: About 20-30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to about 1/2-inch thickness and cut in half (creating 4 servings)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus a little more for cooking the chicken
  • Butter or margarine, as needed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium onion (about 3/4 cup), finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup dry white wine (cooking wine is fine)
  • 1, 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • Approx. 1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream or half&half, or as needed (I didn't really measure this—I just added a few splashes of half&half to create a thicker, creamier sauce)
  • Corn starch, as needed (this must be mixed with a liquid first, then added)
  • Approx. 8-12 oz. fettuccine or other long, flat noodle

In a large skillet, heat a little olive oil (enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan) over medium heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add to the pan (I also sprinkled a little garlic powder on them for added flavor). Cook until they are almost completely cooked through (about 10-15 minutes), then remove from the pan, place on a plate, and cover with foil to keep them warm.

Cooked through and golden brown

Add the dried herbs (including the bay leaf), onion, garlic, water, and 1/2 cup of olive oil, plus a little butter (just a pat or two) to the pan and cook over medium heat, until the mixture is fragrant and the onions are slightly soft. Add the tomatoes and white wine and stir to combine. Add a splash or two of half&half or heavy cream to the sauce and whisk it into the sauce to help it blend. Because the sauce has so much olive oil, it does not necessarily blend completely, so you may notice that it looks a little "unmixed"—this is alright; just whisk it a bit every so often to help keep it blended. Add in cornstarch (mixed first with a little water or cream) if desired (this helps thicken the sauce a bit). Let the completed sauce cook for a minute, then add the chicken back into to the pan, stir to coat, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover the pan. Before serving, remove the bay leaf from the sauce (these should not be eaten). In the meantime, bring a medium-to-large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta, return it to the pot, then ladle large spoonfuls of the completed sauce into the pot and toss to combine. Plate the chicken on top of the sauced pasta and serve with an extra spoonful of sauce and a sprinkling of Italian cheese (Pecorino-Romano is perfect!).

The sauce is what makes this dish so good—it's rich, lightly creamy, and so smooth, and it coats the pasta and chicken perfectly. The dried herbs, onion, and wine blend beautifully with the tangy bite of the tomatoes and the garlic, and the olive oil and cream create an amazing texture to the sauce. This was the perfect dish to make with my fresh fettuccine!

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