Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Baked Penne and Chicken with Mushrooms

Table salt
1 lb penne
4 tbls olive oil
1 1/2 lbs cremini mushrooms, wiped clean & sliced 1/4" thick
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 oz porcini mushrooms, rinsed and minced
8 garlic cloves, minced (about 8 tsp)
1 tbls minced fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
1/4 cup unbleached flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs), trimmed
8 oz shredded Italian cheese blend (about 2 cups)
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbls fresh parsley leaves

Bring 4 qts water to boil in Dutch oven over high heat. Stir in 1 tbls salt and pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta through colander and toss with 1 tbls olive oil; leave in colander and set aside.

Wipe pot dry, add remaining 3 tbls oil, and set over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add cremini mushrooms, onion, porcini mushrooms, and 1 tsp salt. Cover and cook, stirring often, until mushrooms have released their liquid, about 10 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high, and continue to cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are dry and browned, 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth, wine, and cream.

Add chicken, partially cover, and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover completely, and cook until thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove pot from heat. Remove chicken and set aside to cool; keep sauce covered. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-size pieces. Stir shredded chicken and 1 cup cheese into sauce with cooked pasta until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer t0 13x9 baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Sprinkle with parsley.

To Freeze: Wrap dish tightly with plastic wrap , then with foil, and freeze.

To Serve: Thaw 24-48 hours. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Unwrap dish and cover tightly with foil sprayed with vegetable oil spray (or nonstick foil). Bake until sauce is bubbling around edges, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until hot through-out and browned on top, 25-30 minutes longer.

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