Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Penne Arrabbiata with Mushrooms and Chicken

Italian food is my specialty. There is just something comfortable for me about boiling pasta and mixing together a sauce. It's easy, and it's delicious. Plus, I get to make things as spicy or garlicy as I want without altering the original recipe, which is particularly nice.
This arrabbiata sauce is one that adapts very well to being spicy and filled with garlic. Plus, it's so simple it can be thrown together in no time at all and can use just about anything you might already have in your fridge, which makes it great for those evenings where every minute seems to be scheduled for something other than dinner. Of course, it's a little slower than just microwaving a pizza, but if that's what you wanted ... why are you here?

Penne Arrabbiata with Mushrooms and Chicken
Serves 3

What you'll need:
a pot for steaming vegetables
a large saucepan (large enough to toss pasta and additions with the sauce)

For Sauce --
Olive Oil
1-2 tsp chili powder (we used hot)
2-4 dried red chilies (number will dictate spicy factor of your sauce), finely chopped (may use red pepper flakes)
4-5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/4 c finely chopped sweet onion
4-5 fresh basil leaves or 1-2 tsp dried basil
4 Roma tomatoes, finely diced
Salt/Pepper to taste
For Additions (may be substituted at will) ---
1/2 package (1 lb box) penne
2-3 cups chopped broccoli
2 Portobello mushroom caps, diced and cooked
3 small breasts chicken, cooked and diced

In a large saucepan, drizzle about 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Add chili powder and red chilies, and cook on medium heat until olive oil turns brown (only a minute or so). Add in garlic, basil and onions. Make sure not to burn, and cook until onions are softened. Stir to coat garlic/onions with the infused olive oil.
Once the onions are soft, add in the tomatoes and cover. Simmer gently until tomatoes are easily broken up with a spoon (about 15-20 min).
While your tomatoes are cooking, cook your pasta and steam your broccoli (or just toss your broccoli in for the last minute your pasta is cooking). Also make sure your chicken and mushrooms are cooked and diced. We grilled ours with salt and pepper, but you could bake or sauté your own.
Once the tomatoes are done, use a spoon to break them up into small bits. Toss in the pasta, vegetables and chicken and continue to cook, mixing well. Cook for another minute or so, until flavors are well combined.
Remove from heat and serve, garnish with a little Parmesan.

For a more traditional arrabbiata, serve with pancetta (Italian bacon) instead of chicken. Arrabbiata is supposed to be spicy, so make sure to dial the spice to your individual tastes!
This entrée goes well served after a light spinach salad with a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Oooh, I just love Italian!

1 comment:

  1. mmm i know what dinner's going to be tomorrow night