Sunday, April 28, 2013

Penne a la Betsy

I forgot to mention one of the perks of my new job - I get my own desk! I know that sounds insignificant, but my Jersey City office implemented "free seating" a few years ago.  Free seating means there are less desks than people, and therefore no one has their own space.  You go into the office in the morning, choose an open desk, and plug in your laptop.  Since there are less desks than people, we have the technology to work anywhere (remote access with video chat, IP phones, etc.) which makes it easy to work from home.  I've gotten quite used to working from home on Fridays.  The NYC office location does not (yet?)  have free seating, so I get my own desk! Woo! Now I've started leaving things on my new desk, and mistakenly left my laptop there on Thursday.  Unfortunately, this meant that I had to go into the office on Friday.  KK was also forced to implement a last-minute menu change because I was supposed to marinate chicken during the day.

Penne a la Besty was the backup dinner plan for Friday night.  KK was planning to pickup penne at the grocery store this weekend so, without penne in the pantry, we used rotini instead.  I decided to keep the recipe name consistent with The Pioneer Woman's original creation.  You get the gist! The most substantial change I made to the original recipe was using chicken instead of shrimp - not surprisingly, I dislike seafood.  I also added various Italian spices to make the dish more flavorful.  The sauce-to-pasta-to-chicken ratio was perfect! I'm looking forward to leftovers later this week.  Enjoy!

Penne a la Betsy
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

3/4 pound penne pasta
1 pound chicken breast, chopped into small pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Cook until no longer pink, about 10 minutes.  Remove chicken from skillet, plate, and cover with aluminum foil.

3. Deglaze the pan by pouring a small amount of white wine into the skillet, stirring to get up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan

4. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet over medium heat.  Saute onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes.  Add white wine and let it evaporate for a few minutes, again stirring occasionally.  Next, add tomato sauce and evaporated milk.  Stir until well combined.  Turn heat down to low and let simmer.

5. Add herbs and cooked chicken to the tomato cream sauce.  Stir to coat, and season with salt and pepper.  Add cooked pasta, stir to combine, and serve warm.

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