November 10, 2010

Bel Aria Chicken and Pasta

Looks like we are riding the roller coaster of ups and downs that we call Rachael Ray's recipes. Tonight was a down compared to Sunday night's Chicken Francese with Wilted Spinach. The ingredients list sounded like a meal that both Mr. Sideline Chef and I would enjoy.

As I was laying out the ingredients I just wasn't getting that "I'm so excited to make this my taste buds are in overdrive" feeling. I had thought about just calling it a night and having Mr. Sideline Chef run to Taco Bell and pick me up a fresco bean burrito with guacamole. After eating this I really wish I would have gone with that idea.

Rachael Ray had put in a side note on this recipe about how this is her take on a dish prepared at an opera cafe in New York City, Caffe Taci. If I was deciding on whether or not to visit their cafe off of her take on their dish I would most definitely have to pass.

Bite-sized chicken pieces are browned in a pool of olive oil and butter and once cooked set aside until after the mushrooms get done browning. To the mushrooms hot peppers are added and a splash of their juice. Dry white wine was added to create a sauce with the addition of the starchy water from the pasta. The rigatoni is added to the skillet and it is tossed with the Parmesan cheese blend and parsley. Served alongside a piece of crusty Italian bread and a three-color salad, insalata tre colore.

Mr. Sideline Chef and I agree that this dish was like eating the hot peppers straight out of the jar because none of the flavors from the chicken or garlic sauteed mushrooms came through. What a disappointment. The highlight of the meal was the salad that Mr. Sideline Chef wouldn't eat because the dressing didn't sound like something he wouldn't like, because it wasn't ranch dressing, and then dipping my bread in the dressing that settled to the bottom of my salad bowl.

 One thing that bothers me more than her hit or miss recipes is that the serving sizes are for men of the Pittsburgh Steelers stature. If you're a calorie counter I'm sure you wouldn't even want to see how many calories are in a serving. Sure wasn't worth eating rabbit food the whole day to save my calories for this.

If you think you'd have better success or an inventive way to recreate this by all means knock yourself out!

Bel Aria Chicken and Pasta
Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners
Makes 4 servings

Stars of the Show: These stars must be on the "D List" with Kathy Griffin.
  • salt
  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenderloins, cut into large bite-sized pieces
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 pound cremini (baby portobello) mushroom caps, thinly sliced, or 4 portobello caps, gills scraped out, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 Italian hot red cherry peppers, drained and chopped, plus a splash of the pickling juices from the jar - They did not have these in our local market so I just substituted it with Tabasco hot peppers.
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine - I used sauvignon blanc.
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more to pass at the table
  • handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • crusty Italian bread
And Action: I should have stopped before I began.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. When it comes to a boil, salt it and add the rigatoni. Heads up... you'll need two ladles full of the cooking water to be added to the sauce just before the pasta is drained.

While the pasta is boiling, heat a big, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 1/2 tbsp of butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the chicken to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and brown for 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a plate. It will finish cooking through when added back to the sauce later. (My chicken cooked completely through after the 6 minutes.)

Return the pan to the heat and add another tbsp of olive oil, the remaining butter, then the mushrooms and garlic. Cook until the mushrooms are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Salt and pepper the mushrooms after they brown. (If you salt them when they are first added to the skillet, the salt will draw out the liquids and slow the browning process.) Add the hot peppers and a splash of the pickling liquid to the pan. Add the white wine and scrape up the pan drippings with a wooden spoon. Cook the wine down for a minute, then place the chicken back into the pan and cook for a couple more minutes.

Before draining the pasta add 2 ladles of the starchy water to the skillet. The starchy water will help the sauce form and adhere to the pasta. (This seems like a joke since this doesn't even have a sauce that adheres to the pasta.) Add the drained rigatoni to the skillet. Turn off the heat and toss the chicken, mushrooms, and pasta together for a minute or two sprinkling in the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve with the crusty Italian bread and if you choose the Three-Color Salad. (Recipe to come tomorrow.)

Just a reminder: You only have 2 days left to enter the Gorton's / Ortega Giveaway! All you need to do is click HERE and leave a comment and your email address. So simple and who doesn't love free?


Jeanette said...

I give you a lot of credit for trying all these new recipes. Maybe try caramelizing some onions with the mushrooms (mushrooms taste a lot better when they're nicely browned) and adding some spices like thyme? I would leave out the cherry peppers; you can always add some red pepper flakes if you want a little spice. A touch of balsamic vinegar at the end might add some tang.

Pretend Chef said...

Jeanette - I like your variation. This recipe just got thrown out and I'm not looking back. There are too many wonderful recipes out there I am wanting to try them all. If only... sigh.

Carolyn said...

Thanks for an honest review! But I am sorry it wasn't the sort of dish you were hoping for. Sometimes things sound so good, but just don't come together.

Pretend Chef said...

Carolyn - That was the first time I was laying out my ingredients to make something and it just didn't have me excited to eat it. I can see why I was feeling that way. I'm not saying it tasted bad, just not what I get excited over.

~Lisa~ said...

I like large portions hehe. My kind of meal.

Kimberly Peterson said...

Mmmm.. ok I think I'm gonna have some pasta for dinner tonight, hehe.

Pretend Chef said...

Lisa - I would love large portions if the calorie count didn't reflect it, haha!

Kimberly - Hopefully yours turns out better than mine.

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