Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Pasta Aria

Bowties, alfredo sauce, bacon, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts - what a pleasure that they joined together to play this song!  And we have Magleby's, a restaurant in Provo, Utah to thank for conducting the original version of this symphony of flavors.  When vacationing from the Middle East we always topped our list of "Places we have to eat" with this little known Utah Valley jewel.  Lured in by their fresh, hot cheesy biscuits and soups, not much appetite was left when the entrees arrived.  But this one's aroma insisted that we sit up and take notice!  This Pasta Aria is a creamy, nutty, soul-soothing, dish for a cold winter's night accompanied by clarion notes of sophistication.

Bowtie Pasta Alfredo

1/4 cup butter
3 tab. flour
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
6 strips bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
2 tab. butter
3/4 pound chicken breast tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large tomato, seeded and peeled, cut into julienne strips
1/2 pound fresh mushroom slices
1 pound bowtie pasta
2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes 
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
additional grated parmesan to sprinkle on top.

-In medium saucepan, melt butter.  Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Stir in flour and combine well.

- let roux cook for about one minute stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add milk: blend with wire whip until smooth.  Add chicken broth and then cream and combine. Return to medium/high heat and stir with whip until mixture thickens and bubbles.  Add nutmeg and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese until melted.

-Melt 2 tab. butter, in medium sauté pan and add chicken pieces.  Cook over medium high heat just until chicken becomes opaque, stirring frequently.  Remove chicken from pan.

-Add tomatoes strips, red pepper flakes and fresh mushrooms to the same pan and continue cooking until mushrooms are soft. Stir in spinach, cover with lid and simmer over low heat until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat.

-Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente in large pot.  Drain and return to pot and mix pasta with warm alfredo sauce.  Stir in
the chicken, bacon and tomato-mushroom-spinach mixture. Mix all together and heat over low heat until hot. Check for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.

-Place in serving bowl.  Garnish with toasted
pine nuts and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

-Serves 6 - 8

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