What are we Making for Dinner?
You could say that this is a recipe for “Roasted Chicken with Mushroom Alfredo Pasta”. You could. And to keep the title reader friendly, I even titled it something like that (because I wouldn’t want you to pass it by because it sounds ‘complicated’ – it’s NOT)! But, make this dish at home and you will want to call it so much more! A good friend recently asked for the recipe – after I sang it’s praises – so, i’m putting this here as my (first!) recipe blog post fills her request and hopefully you will make it for dinner one night soon as well!
like love good food! That’s kind of a ‘duh’ if you know me, and if you don’t yet, I’m a Chef. And what would any self respecting Chef be without a true love for food? But, I will tell you that there are as many types of Chef’s as there are food. There’s fussy Chefs, with fussy food. Vegan Chefs, with vegan food. Barbecue Chefs, with smoky meat food. Pastry Chefs, who get all of the good, gooey-sweet food …. you get it! I have never ‘classified’ myself quite this specifically but I suspect I fall into a larger category of Chefs that would say they just want to cook good, real, accessible food for everyone to enjoy. I don’t currently get paid to be a Chef but still consider myself to be one. You can take the girl out of the kitchen but you can’t take the kitchen out of the girl! Or something like that? In following me, I am sure you will start to see certain patterns with regards to my style cooking. I hope they are patterns that you enjoy as much as I enjoy cooking & sharing with you how to make the recipes your self.
This recipe came to be the same way most of my (‘throw-it- togethers’) come to be… I had certain ingredients, we were hungry and viola!! I mean, I have made many different things that are similar to this, but this one came together using a combination of factors that were specific to that day. Sometimes that is more successful than others. This time got a gold star! Also, I don’t often ‘do’ complicated, but I am a stickler for details (often the ingredients). I believe that if something isn’t fussy often times the only way it becomes special is in the nuances, or small details. Whether it’s room decor, an outfit or a perfectly crafted meal or cocktail, details matter! Wouldn’t you agree?
So, back to our regularly scheduled recipe ….HA! For most of us there is nothing quite as satisfying a sinfully creamy alfredo served over the perfect al dente pasta. Yes? This one however, is elevated to another status. And you can’t beat the comforting scent of roast chicken wafting through the house! So, why not just simple chicken alfredo? The evening I made this I just wanted more! It started with a variety of perfectly pungent mushrooms, as so many perfect dishes do! Aahhh …. MUSHROOMS!! Now, if by some chance you are one of the rare folks that ‘mushrooms just aren’t your thing’, I will suggest that you can make this sans fungi. It will still be dreamy, just not the same. But, alas, enter the mushroom lover … in this dish the mushrooms elevate the sauce to an umami-like status (yep, I went there) and you may never see alfredo the same way again! The pasta I call for here, bucatini, makes a real difference too but in a pinch, pick a substitute that has some body to it like a rigatoni or fettuccine (then find bucatini for next time!)
Once you start cooking, the first thing that will hit you is that the wonderful, comforting smell of roasted chicken will start to fill the air. Be patient for a bit, this dance has only begun. This is a perfect time to have a glass of wine. You patience will be rewarded soon, I promise … because once you begin to build the sauce your senses will begin to pick up pace quickly as a perfect medley of mushrooms is sauteed in the aromatic thyme-scented olive oil. Then, as the creamy, cheesy sauce it built, and all of the components come together, you will find the aroma will be keeping perfect cadence and you will be twirling with joy! You will be able to taste the delectable, unctuous earthiness before it even makes it off of your fork!!
Approximate Time until Dinner: 1 & 1/2 hours (due to Chicken Roasting time) The sauce comes together in 15-20 minutes!
Level of Difficulty – Easy to Medium
Serves – Approximately 4-6 people (depending on appetite) I say TWO with leftovers!!
You Will Need **:
- One Whole Roasting Chicken* – rinse with water & pat dry with paper towel (*free-range, all-natural chicken is the way to go)
- 1 lb (16 oz) Fresh Mushrooms – pick 2- 3 types for fun. I used criminis & chanterelles. Wash & Slice
- Olive Oil (you will use 3 times) – probably about 1/2 c total — or just set the bottle out!) For this recipe, you do not have to use EVOO – save that for dipping your bread in!
- 8 T (1 stick) Butter * (go for small dairy)
- 1-2 Garlic Cloves – mince or crush
- Dried thyme, coarse kosher salt, cracked pepper, nutmeg & Hungarian paprika
- 1 C. (8oz tub) Mascarpone Cheese*
- 1 Extra Large Egg yolk (or 2 small ones) – if not from your own chickens, go small farm
- 1/2 C Parmesan* (plus more for topping)
- 1/4 c (ish) Pan Juice from chicken (you will get this from the pan once it’s cooked)
- OR (instead of above) you can use Heavy Cream instead of pan juice
- 8 to 12 oz Bucatini * pasta (also called perciatelli) (8-12 oz) you can use other pasta, but this one is SO worth finding. It is a thick, hollow spaghetti noodle. It’s one of my favorites!
- (Optional) Fresh Italian Parsley OR Fresh Thyme, Sliced Lemon & extra Parmesan Cheese for topping
- (Other optional) See notes at bottom of recipe – Vegetable or Salad plus Bread, if you wish
- MISE (en place): You get to be a little “French” when we cook together. (C’est quelle joie!) This is you first step. Get all of your ingredients (above) together & wash, chop, dry, mince, set aside, measure … or whatever is stated in the above section. You will be glad you did because it will make your life (er, well, your recipe) so much easier and it’s “Chefy” … it literally means “everything in it’s place” Try it , you’ll be glad! NOW, we cook!
- CHICKEN (or hens): Preheat Oven to 375 and rinse & dry chicken as stated above. (Individual game hens would be a great option here if you wanted a more ‘fancy for guests’ dinner. You would use one per person).Place chicken on a rack in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil & sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, dry thyme & paprika. Don’t be afraid to rub & pat the seasonings into the bird a bit! That’s it. Roast for approx. one & quarter to one & a half hours or until a meat thermometer reads 155-160 stuck in thick of a thigh. This is important … Chicken should be served at 165. You take it out at 155-160 because there will be + 5-10 degrees carry-over cooking happen while it sits! Most people over cook their chicken & it’s dry! Get a meat thermometer & you won’t have to worry again. When it’s done (start checking at just over an hour), remove from oven & tent loosely with foil. Let sit for at least 10 minutes while you finish pasta.
- ALFREDO: This is where the ‘magic’ happens kids!! Start this when the chicken is about 20 minutes from coming out of the oven. First, turn on pasta water to bring up to boil. Second, toss mascarpone, Parmesan & egg yolk in small bowl & mix with a fork. Set aside. Drizzle olive oil in pan & heat on medium. Add garlic & then mushrooms. Sprinkle with thyme & pepper – NO SALT (they will get watery). Saute all mushrooms. Do not overcrowd the mushrooms. If you need to, saute them in several batches you can. You want mushrooms to start to brown (that’s why no over crowding). This is where the real mushroom flavor is built! Now, remove all of the mushrooms from the pan, add the butter & melt (you are working with medium-low heat). Once melted stir in the cheese mixture slowly, a little at a time. Add the mushrooms back in. Once it’s all added stir & add pan juice (&/or) cream until it’s a creamy thick consistency. The pan juice is a total flavor builder! It’s about layers of flavor people! You can use cream if you prefer. Remove from direct heat.
- PASTA: Use 6 quarts of salted water. You will turn the water on high while cooking the mushrooms Add pasta to boiling water when the chicken comes out of the oven because it will need to rest for 10 minutes. Drain when cooked & put back in pan. Do not rinse. Toss with a little olive oil so it doesn’t stick. (NEVER add oil to pasta water)
- PUT IT TOGETHER: Add drained pasta to the sauce & toss with tongs. You are starving now, right? Well, cut up the chicken & PLATE IT UP!! ENJOY & let me know how it was!!
- (OPTIONAL EXTRA) FANCY STUFF: This is a good place to sprinkle fresh herbs & put slices lemon with the chicken. Don’t forget fresh grated cheese for topping too …
- (OPTIONAL): VEG or SALAD – I did not serve this with a veg/salad when I made it, only because this is real life & it’s just that way sometimes – remember, I used what I had on hand! BUT, I generally would & if I did, I would either do a classic Caesar Salad OR Charred Brussel Sprouts (which would go in the oven with chicken) Both are easy peasy & super delish. Or, if when you were at your local Farmers Market, you picked up equally delicious in season vegetable… Go for it!! You may want bread as well.
** Standard Chef Melissa Disclaimers
Ingredients: For the sake of keeping the recipe simple & easy to read, I may not list brands, etc. I (almost) always recommend using the very best ingredients you can find/afford with regards to certain elements of the recipe ( where it makes a difference) & will denote this with (* )when that’s the case. In the absence of an (*) you can just use standard products/brands. Food Safety: First, if not already aware, please educate yourself on the basics of food safety with regards to (but not limited to) cross contamination, cleaning & proper temperatures (especially meats as “Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.” … )