Monday, August 27, 2012

Rigatoni with chicken and creamy mushroom sauce

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With 16 days (or less) until the arrival of my baby, my motivation comes and goes. Some days the nesting instinct is on a warpath and I'm cleaning everything in sight. Other days my swollen ankles leave me curled on the couch. The same goes for cooking. Last night I was a bit more motivated (I made pan-roasted duck breasts with farro risotto and caramelized figs - watch this space for the recipe). Aside from saying it was a great dinner, my fabulous husband said the nicest thing possible: "I don't know many women who would make this dinner 2 weeks before having a baby." Made my day!!!

Some days, I want to prepare big batches of stuff I can freeze for after baby's arrival. Other days, I'm more likely to take the path of least resistance. This recipe is quick and simple, and as you'll see from the picture, my 2-year-old liked it (though she picked out most of the mushrooms), which meant I only had to make one meal to feed all of us.

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Rigatoni with chicken and creamy mushroom sauce
Adapted from Giada at Home by Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients
1/2 pound rigatoni pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound assorted mushrooms, (such as cremini, shiitake and button), cleaned and sliced
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup (4 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.

While the water heats and pasta cooks:
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add to the pan. Cook chicken until lightly browned on all sides and cooked through. Remove from pan using a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the shallots and garlic to the pan, adding a little more olive oil if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the heat to high. Add the wine and cook for 3 minutes until all the liquid evaporates. Add the stock and reserved chicken simmer until liquid is slightly reduced. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the mascarpone cheese. Stir until creamy. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water, and transfer to a serving bowl. Add the mushroom mixture and the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss well to coat pasta, adding the reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Garnish with the chopped chives. Serve immediately.

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