Friday, April 5, 2013

Whole Wheat Pasta w/Chicken & Asparagus in Panchetta/Mushroom/Wine Sauce

Whole Wheat Pasta w/Chicken & Asparagus in Pancetta/Mushroom/Wine Sauce... I made this one night earlier in the week to use up what was in my fridge. It was basically a kitchen sink pasta, I tossed in anything that was going to go bad while on vacation for 5 days.

What I had:
Chicken Tenders
Pancetta (already diced from TJs)
Whole Wheat Spaghetti
Sliced white mushrooms
White Wine
Green Onion

What I did:
First I seasoned my chicken tenders and broiled them. Less messy than in a pan, and much easier. I drizzled them with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and crushed dried oregano on each side. Then, on a baking sheet, popped them in the oven on Broil for 5 minutes on the first side, then gave them a flip and did another 3 minutes on the other side. These were not huge pieces so this was perfect timing. You might need to eyeball it with whatever you're using or slice into one to make sure it's fully cooked.

While that was going I started boiling water for my pasta and chopped up my mushrooms, asparagus, and green onion.

I got a pan nice and hot with a liberal pour of olive oil and tossed in half the container of pancetta and 2 cloves of crushed garlic. I let that brown lightly and then I added in my mushrooms. They were already sliced in the package but I cute them up into small pieces. I let that all saute together absorbing the flavors of the pancetta. Next I tossed in my asparagus, which I cut into 1 inch long pieces, avoiding using the thick hard stem part if possible.At this point I added some pepper and more crushed dried oregano. Once the veggies and pancetta were getting brown I started adding in white wine. I did this about a quarter cup at a time and let it reduce and thicken. I added almost half the bottle by the end! I also added a squeeze of lemon and a bit  (think a couple table spoons) of the starchy pasta water just to cut the acidic taste a bit and to act as a binding agent.

While this was all simmering and the pasta was almost al dente, I shredded the chicken tenders by hand.

Next, and I was reallllly trying to avoid this but I couldn't help myself. I added a little tiny bit of butter, about a teaspoon full... but it was enough to add a really great rich creaminess to the acidic sauce.

Once that was melted thoroughly I tossed in my chicken and shortly after I used tongs to fish out my pasta and added it to the saute pan as well. I gave it all a big mix and let it rest with the heat turned off for a minute, just letting the flavors coat the pasta and the chicken.

Once it was ready to serve I added in some chopped green onion. I know this is random but it was the only fresh herb I had around and it actually added a nice kick and brightness to the somewhat decadent dish.

It was perfect and hearty but besides for the butter it wasn't too awfully horrible. I did get lots of veggies and lean protein, and some whole wheat pasta never hurt anyone.

Hope this sounds as Dahlish to you as it was for me. And hopefully this inspires you to use up what you've got and get creative!

Happy Friday!

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