Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Company Pasta

I named this ‘Company Pasta’ because it is perfect to serve when guests come for dinner; it is easy to make, yet very impressive. It is also an indulgence due to the bacon and cream, and maybe best only enjoyed (savored), on occasion.

1 pound bacon, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons butter
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved horizontally so that they are very thin
1 huge shallot, or two small, peeled and diced
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
1 can artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
Parmesan, if freshly grated use 1 cup, if pre-grated (from the deli) use ½ cup
Freshly cracked black pepper

1 pound short, dried pasta-- rigatoni or penne for example

1) Place a huge pot of salted, hot water over high heat bringing it to a boil.

2) Season the chicken pieces with a bit of salt. Set aside.

3) Cook the bacon in an 11“, non-stick pan over medium heat until just barely crisp, remove to a paper towel and set aside. If there is grease in the pan, pour all of it off. Don’t clean the pan. Put one tablespoon butter into the same pan and sauté half of the chicken until golden and cooked through. Remove from the pan place one more tablespoon of butter in the pan and continue with the next 4 halved breasts. Set aside when done.

4) Begin cooking pasta.

5) Now place the shallots into the pan. The pan will probably be dry at this point, so splash in the white wine, bring up to a strong simmer and scrape the bottom of the pan to get up all the golden bits (called, ‘fond’). Allow the wine to reduce by half-- should take just a few minutes. During this time, cut the cooked chicken into bite sized chunks.

6) Once the wine is reduced, add in the cream and bring to a quick simmer. Allow it to cook for 1 minute, then add in the cooked bacon, chicken and artichoke hearts. Warm everything through, then remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese-- stir to combine. Season with a bit of cracked black pepper and toss with pasta.

Serves 8

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