Monday, November 08, 2010

Papardelle with Chicken and Broccolette

Now that I've shown you how easy it is to make pasta, I feel better about showing you my more recent efforts. It is so easy to make, in fact, that I find myself wanting to make it just for the sheer pleasure of doing so.

And I love how creative you can be with sauces. I have gravitated more towards white sauces with my home-made pasta. I am not sure why; I will have to explore that. But I don't want my white sauces to be loaded with butter and cream, so I have been experimenting with chicken or vegetable broth, adding just a touch of cream at the end to make it a little richer. That seems to be working

These noodles are a little less than an inch wide, which makes them papardelle, although they are on the narrow side. I thought this would be a good width to go with the leftover I chicken I had from what I had poached for the broth. I was fortuitous enough to find more broccolette at Treasure Island so I bought some of that.

I put the pasta water over high heat to bring it to a boil. Before I cooked the pasta, however, I dropped in the chopped broccolette, turned off the heat, and blanched it for about four minutes, after which I pulled it out and shocked it in some cold water to stop the cooking and help keep its vibrant green color. I turned the heat back on under the pot, and while the water was coming up to a boil I started working on the sauce.

I sauteed a few cloves of garlic with olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, being careful not to burn the garlic. After a few minutes I added about half a cup of chicken broth and brought it to a simmer. I seasoned to taste with salt and pepper and added a teaspoon of dried thyme. I would have used fresh thyme if I had any, but that was not the case. I added the broccolette and the chicken and turned the heat to low. Since both the chicken and the broccolette were already cooked, I just wanted to heat them through and reduce the stock a little.

When the pasta water was boiling I added the pasta and poured about 2 tablespoons of cream into the sauce. After two minutes, I drained the slightly undercooked pasta (reserving about a cup of the pasta water) and added it to the pan with the chicken and broccolette. I stirred everything together, letting the pasta cook for another minute or so until it was al dente, adding a little of the pasta water to help the sauce get to the perfect consistency. I turned off the heat, added about half a cup of grated parmiagiano-reggiano, and made sure everything was well mixed.

After plating the pasta, I added more cheese and sprinkled chopped parsley over the top.

It was delicious. The photo doesn't really do it justice - I have noticed that the cream sauces don't show up well in my photographs, which makes the pasta look dry. I don't like to drown my pasta in sauce, but there was a perfect balance of sauce to pasta on that plate.

What I like about this method is that it doesn't really matter what you use - broccolette, broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, peas, artichoke hearts - the possibilities are endless. And when you have made the pasta yourself, it goes from good to gourmet.

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