This dish is yummy, simple, satisfying and easy to make for family or company. It has all of my favorite ingredients and shows up regularly at our house, especially as the weather starts to turn cooler. It happened to snow last week and it’s only mid-September!
Use your favorite pasta – one of mine is orecchiette. I think it’s the perfect size & shape. This recipe is also super adaptable. Substitute sausage for the chicken or leave the meat out entirely. Use your favorite veggies, also. Make it what you want it to be! This recipe also calls for wine. For the love of all that is holy, use REAL wine, the kind you would drink.
Creamy Orecchiette with Chicken & spinach
- 3 boneless chicken breasts (or combination of breasts & thighs) cut into 1 inch pieces.
- salt & pepper to taste
- SPIKE seasoning (optional…however I season everything with this stuff)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped red pepper
- 1 10 oz box frozen chopped spinach, thawed & squeezed dry
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups half & half
- 1 cup finely grated parmesan romano cheese (or any sharp & nutty italian hard cheese)
- 10 oz of your favorite pasta
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup pasta water
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- If you have a cast iron or oven proof skillet, you can make this all in one pot (except for cooking the pasta)
- Get your pasta water going, season the water with salt and cook your pasta al dente, or slightly undercooked because it will finish cooking in the oven. Do not drain all the pasta water, save at least a cup to use at the end of the recipe. While your pasta is cooking, continue with the rest of the directions.
- Season the chicken with salt, pepper & Spike to your taste.
- Heat a deep skillet on a medium to medium/high temp and sauté the onion & red pepper in 1 tablespoon of oil until slightly brown, remove from the pan & set aside. You will have crusty brown bits starting to form on the bottom of the pan, you want that.
- Now brown the season chicken in the other tablespoon of oil, then remove from the pan & let rest with the onion & peppers you have set aside. Another layer of crusty brown bits will be stuck to the bottom of the pan, this is good.
- Put the pan back on the heat and add the wine. It should immediately bubble & boil up acting all angry. Using a flat wooden spoon or spatula, stir and scrape the bottom of the pan getting all the brown bits released and into the sauce. Reduce the wine by 1/2.
- Add the chicken stock, stir & simmer to reduce by 1/2 again. This doesn’t take long if your heat is high enough.
- Add the half & half and the spinach & stir gently.
- Add a large handful of your grated cheese, reserve some to top the dish right before it goes into the oven. Taste this, does it need more seasoning? Simmer a few minutes to let the flavors marry.
- Add the reserved chicken & veggies along with any juices that have rendered, back into the pot.
- Now the al dente pasta goes in & stir gently. What you want is a somewhat soupy product. It will firm up and thicken in the oven because the pasta will absorb the sauce. Add some pasta liquid to thin it if needed. I added about 1/2 a cup.
- Pour the mixture into a large oven proof baking dish or if you’re using a cast iron skillet then this can go straight into the oven! Top with the reserved cheese, and bake for around 20 minutes until bubbly and golden on top.