Thursday, March 05, 2009

Baked Penne with Chicken, Sun-dried Olives & Tomatoes and Mushrooms

Baked Penne with Chicken & Sun Dried Tomatoes & Olives
Adapted from Everyday Food

Hands on time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 25 minutes (or until bubbly around the edges and the top is golden)

Rest time: 5 minutes

Serves 6-8

1 box whole wheat penne (375g/ 13oz)
6 tbsp butter (plus a little to grease the baking pan and more to sauté the mushrooms)
Coarse salt & freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved horizontally
1 tsp dried oregano
½ cup plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
4 large garlic cloves, minced
6 cups milk (I used 1%)
10oz/300g mushrooms, sliced (I used a mix of cremini and shitake)
½ cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
½ cup sun-dried black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1½ cups grated provolone (about 6oz/170g)
1 cup finely grated Parmesan (about 4oz/110g)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C and butter a large ovenproof glass or ceramic lasagna pan.

2. Boil salted water in a large Dutch oven and cook the penne until it is not quite al dente. Slightly undercooking is the way to go since the dish will continue to cook and absorb sauce during the baking. I hate mushy pasta on my plate. Drain and quickly rinse under cold water to stop the cooking while you prepare the sauce.

3. In a large non-stick skillet, over medium-high heat, sauté the chicken until it is no longer pink, (5 minutes per side). Remove to a cutting surface, cut the breasts in half length-wise and cut into thin slices across each half. Set aside. Sauté the mushrooms in a little olive oil and butter and set aside.

4. Using a large Dutch oven (I use the same pot I did for the pasta, just rinsed and dried first), over medium heat, melt the butter and then add the flour and garlic, whisking for 1 minute or so. Continue whisking and add the milk bringing it to a simmer. Add the olives, mushrooms and tomatoes and sauté for another minute for the flavors to come through. Turn off the heat and gradually stir in the grated provolone and half of the Parmesan cheese. Add the chicken, toss and season with salt & pepper. Pour into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan over top.

5. Bake for 25 minutes. It’s ready when the sauce bubbles around the edges and the top is golden.

6. Remove from the oven and let it rest, uncovered on the counter/table for 5 minutes. This will let the dish “set” and still be hot.

Serve with a simple green salad. This time I mixed some baby arugula with baby spinach and baby red romaine leaves, added lots of fresh herbs…mint, oregano, parsley and cilantro. The dressing was equal parts balsamic apple cider vinegar and good olive oil, with some lime & honey mustard. And I threw in some dried fruit – blueberries, cherries and mango slivers plus some toasted pecan pieces.

Delicioso!!! Apparently it also freezes well - we, of course ate it all up.


agirloutthere said...

Just an omitted the milk from your ingredient list. Did you use whole milk? How much?

Oh, and where did you find sun-dried olives?

Ruth Daniels said...

Oooops...the recipe called for 6 cups of milk, thanks for catching that. I use 1%