Pasta and chicken make quick dinner


Pasta and chicken make quick dinner

By JOE GRAY

Chicago Tribune

This pasta dish features Italian flavors, but I’m sure many would point out that Italians don’t put chicken in their pasta dishes. Instead, they would serve it as a second course.

But who has time to eat that way on busy weeknights? So this recipe incorporates quickly sauteed chicken, using easy-to-cut-up tenders.

Menu:

Sliced salami platter

Penne with chicken, mushrooms, olives and spinach

Rustic country bread

Chocolate pudding

Tips:

To save money, you can use whole chicken breasts and cut them up yourself.

Buy good-quality pitted olives by-the-pound at the olive bars featured in many supermarkets.

Beverage suggestion:

Serve this with an Italian pinot noir, called pinot nero, or another medium- to light-bodied red wine. Or you could go with white to match the cooking wine, but I prefer a heartier flavor to match the spinach and mushrooms.

PENNE WITH CHICKEN, MUSHROOMS, OLIVES AND SPINACH

1 pound penne

1‚Ñ4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 package (8 ounces) sliced mushrooms

1‚Ñ2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 pound chicken tenders, cut into pieces

1 cup dry white wine

3‚Ñ4 cup whipping cream or half-and-half

1‚Ñ2 cup imported pitted olives, roughly chopped

1 package (5 ounces) baby spinach

Cook the pasta in a large stockpot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, 1‚Ñ4 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste; cook, stirring, until mushrooms begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil to the skillet. Add the chicken in one layer; season with remaining 1‚Ñ4 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste. Cook, turning once, until chicken is browned on both sides, about 8 minutes. Remove to the bowl with the mushrooms. Pour wine into the skillet; cook, stirring up browned bits, until slightly reduced, 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved mushroom mixture, chicken, cream and olives.

Place the spinach on top; cover. Cook until spinach wilts, about 5 minutes. Pour over drained pasta in a serving bowl; toss to mix.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutrition information per serving: 584 calories, 38 percent of calories from fat, 25 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 82 mg cholesterol, 61 g carbohydrates, 28 g protein, 362 mg sodium, 5 g fiber

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