Deedles Dish in a Nutshell

I am a Midwestern girl from a long line of cooks who doesn't think cooking needs to be complicated. Enjoy the recipes!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Penne Leonardo with Sweet Onion Focaccia

Well, here it is folks! The recipe I mentioned earlier this week in all of it's glory.  If anyone has ever had Pasta DaVinci from The Cheesecake Factory, this recipe is a close second.  I would rate it at an intermediate skill level.  It took a lot of time and attention but it was totally worth it in the end.  The key is in finding the right wine.  Make sure it is a red Madeira and ask the wine specialist at the liquor store for their recommendation.  The wrong wine will ruin the dish.

The "focaccia" is not homemade so I apologize if I was misleading.  It is however, so easy and so good! I can't wait to make it again.

I often find that cooking is therapeutic for me and this dish was a good example.  I've been in sort of a funk this week and making this dish allowed me to zone out and focus on something else for a little while.  And then, in the end, I got to be really proud of myself for this excellent meal that I had prepared.  Double win!

Here's a look at the final product, hot and ready to eat:

Penne Leonardo

So now the pasta recipe.  I would say this serves 4-5 good servings so it would be good for a family meal or couples night, although I am enjoying the leftovers as we speak and they are pretty damn good.

2 cups penne pasta cooked al dente
1/4 cup red onion-chopped (You guessed it, using the Vidalia Onion Chopper)
1 cup crimini mushrooms sliced (Use whatever mushrooms you doesn't matter.)
2 tsp garlic-minced (I used the cheese grater method again)
1/2 lb chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
4 tbsp butter, halved
2 tsp salt
1 cup red Madeira wine
1/2 water
2 tbsp heavy cream
Pepper to taste

So there is kind of a lot going on in this dish and it's best to have everything chopped, diced, sliced, poured and whatever else before you start, that way you're ready when the recipe calls for it.  This is what my table looked like before I even turned on the oven:

1. Cook pasta in salted water with a dash of olive oil according to directions on the box for "al dente" pasta. Putting olive oil in the water when cooking any pasta is a tip I learned from my friend and study abroad alum Ali Cannoni.  This keeps the pasta from sticking together when you are ready to serve!
2. Saute onions, mushrooms and garlic in 2 tbsp of butter until tender. Add salt. Remove and set aside for later.

3. In the same pan, cook the chicken until cooked through, stirring frequently.  I had to add some olive oil here so the chicken didn't stick.
4. Remove chicken and set aside.
5. In the same pan, add 2 tbsp butter and melt over a low-medium heat.
6. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and stir to make a roux.
7. Slowly add in the wine, water and heavy cream, stirring constantly.
8. Cook over a medium-high heat until thickened, stirring often to keep from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Taste often during this step.  If you can taste the alcohol flavor or if it tastes really sweet, keep cooking the liquid down.  You can also smell the steam and if it smells like alcohol, keep cooking.  I would say I probably let the liquid simmer and thicken for about 10-15 minutes.
9. Add the chicken, muschrooms, garlic and onions back in and simmer for a few more minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.
10. Toss the pasta with the sauce mixture and top with Parmesan cheese.

Sweet Onion Focaccia

This focaccia is a great and easy side dish for any pasta dish, in my opinion.  I adapted it from a recipe in Taste of Home and it is so amazing.  I actually plan on making it again tomorrow evening to serve with lasagna. :)

1 small Boboli crust
1/2 sliced small yellow onion
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Brush the bottom of the pizza crust with olive oil and cook until crisp in the oven or on the grill.  If cooking in the oven, heat to 400 degrees.  Remove crust once crisp and set aside.  Cook the onions in the oil and butter in a medium skillet.  Add sugar and cook until soft and onions are golden brown.  Top the pizza crust with onions.

Top with parmesan cheese and bake until golden brown.  About 5-8 minutes.  Watch closely so the crust doesn't burn.  Cut into 8 small triangles and serve.
I was, fittingly, watching Hell's Kitchen while this making this delicious meal.  I love me some Gordon Ramsey.

Good eatin',


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