Riccioli Pasta with Wild Mushroom Sauce & Grilled Chicken
Needed a “quick & easy” recipe for dinner last night. My wife pulled out a bag of frozen chicken tenders from the freezer in the morning and marinated them in balsamic dressing before heading out to work. She “mentioned” we should use up the fresh, wild mushrooms in the refrigerator from the Farmer’s Market.
What to do?
How about a wild mushroom sauce served over this very cool pasta I found at Wegman’s called riccioli and topped with those grilled chicken tenders? Sounded like a good idea to me. Now I just have to come up with a recipe and here’s what I devised:
Riccioli (or should I say “little curls”) is a type of fusilli pasta traditionally made with a spindle shaped tool called a ferretto. About 2 inches in length, riccioli has a spring-like look after it is cooked. Hailing from Southern Italy, this versatile spirally pasta holds up quite well with chunky sauces like the mushroom sauce I prepared for this dish.
I wanted to make this a cream sauce but didn’t have any cream or half and half in the house but I did have some sour cream. I was a little concerned this sauce was going to turn into a stroganoff but it worked out fine.
The recipe also calls for demi glace, a highly reduced beef stock reduction that requires a time consuming process to make at home but is commercially available. Read more about demi glace.
Pasta with Wild Mushroom Sauce and Grilled Chicken Recipe
1 pound Riccioli or some other spirally pasta like fusili
For the Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small onions, peeled and finely diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced
1/4 cup red wine
1-pound fresh mushrooms mix or cremini, sliced thin
1 cup Demi Glace
Salt and pepper - to taste
3/4 cup sour cream or 1/2 cup half and half
For the Chicken:
8 chicken tenders or 2 to 3 chicken breasts, seasoned with salt & pepper
How To Prepare At Home
Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta and get your outdoor grill ready depending on if it is gas or charcoal. You know your grill and how long it takes to get hot.
The sauce takes about 20 minutes to prep and cook so time your pasta making and chicken grilling accordingly. The chicken takes approximately 10 minutes to cook as does the pasta.
Preparing the sauce
In a large saucepan, heat up the olive oil until hot. Add the onions and cook until translucent over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute.
Deglaze the pan with the wine and let it cook down for a minute or two. I like to add the mushrooms at this point. They will release a bunch of water and the wine and water will continue to cook down until there is nothing left.
Add the demi glace and season with salt and pepper. Let this cook to desired thickness. Reduce heat to medium low and then add the sour cream. Stir to incorporate and continue to cook for a minute or two to heat through.
Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
You may be thinking, “how do I make the sauce, grill the chicken and cook the pasta at the same time?” The sauce and pasta are easy but grilling the chicken requires breaking one of my golden rules for cooking and grilling – Never leave the grill or stove once you start cooking.
Normally a lot can go wrong when you walk away from the grill but unless you have a partner to cook with, there are times you have to do it yourself. This was the case last night so I worked fast and there were no problems.
Drain the pasta and get everything ready to plate.
Plating the dish
Add some pasta to a bowl or plate, top with a few spoonsful of mushroom sauce and top with the grilled chicken that can be left whole or sliced.
We served peas with this dish, but you can serve any vegetable that the kids enjoy.
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