Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Favorite Brand Name Light Cooking -- Pasta with Spinach-Cheese Sauce (Actually, no. It's Chicken Marvalasala and Pappardelle with Rosemary Gravy)

One thing that drives me kind of insane about food blogs is how a lot of them don't document the terrible things they make.  They won't tell you that for every fabulous Chicken Marsala or Fillet Mignon they make, there was a really awful Beef Stroganoff or a Tuna Casserole that left their families in bed with food poisoning for a week.

So I'm here to tell you that the dinner I made that was supposed to fill this blog post was. . .not good.  It was unattractive, and tasted like nothing.  It's not even that it tasted bad.  It's that it literally had no flavor and looked weird to boot.


Poor Dennis was a trooper.  He told me later, "I was so worried you were going to love it!" because he knows how I am about stuff I make.  But in this case?  I ate it, because it was late and that's what I'd made, but it wasn't good.  It just wasn't.  Not even with salt.
It tasted like a big plate of Nothing Sauce on pasta.  In Dennis' words, "Well, what it lacks in flavor, you made up for with your working so hard to make it."

He's sweet.  But there's no way around the fact that this recipe was terrible.  As such, I'm not going to bother posting the whole thing here:  I wouldn't want to inflict that on you.  Instead, I'm going to put up a recipe out of the Rachael Ray cookbook that I didn't have the chance to post a couple weeks ago.  
I made it while I was home by myself for that week, and it was pretty amazing.

A warning, though:  It's a pretty in-depth recipe, on the Intermediate cooking level (or at least for those who can manage multiple tasks in the kitchen at once) at least.  But I'd say it's worth it.

As always, some variations were made to this recipe.  I only mention this because the recipe name mentions pappardelle pasta, which I'd never heard of, and I used a different pasta.  Also, I cut way down on the number of mushrooms used, because I just recently have accepted mushrooms as an acceptable form of foodstuff, so I wasn't sure if I'd like them.  I did.

Chicken Marvalasala and Pappardelle with Rosemary Gravy

Serves 2


2 servings pasta of your choice
4 small boneless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
6 white mushrooms, sliced (you can use more if you're more comfortable with mushrooms than I am)
4 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
3 sprigs rosemary, minced
2 Tbsp. flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup white wine (I used riesling)
Grated Parmesan cheese
A handful or so of spinach leaves, sliced thinly

Cook pasta according to package directions.

While the pasta is boiling, season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When it's heated, add the chicken until it's lightly browned on both sides.  Remove chicken from pan (set aside on a plate.)

In the same skillet you were cooking the chicken in, add the remaining olive oil and half of the garlic.  Cook for a minute, then add mushrooms to the pan.  Cook the mushrooms until they become brown and tender, about 9 minutes.

While the mushrooms are cooking and in a separate pan, melt half of the butter.  Stir in the tomato paste and heat through.  Add the remaining garlic, cook, stirring, for a minute or so.  Add the rosemary and the flour, cook for one minute, whisking.  Add broth and Worcestershire sauce and stir.  Simmer the gravy until it thickens, 3-5 minutes, and add salt and pepper to taste.

To the cooked mushrooms, add the wine and reduce for 1 minute.  Add the remaining butter and stir.  Put the chicken into this sauce to warm it through.

Drain the pasta and toss it with the gravy and some cheese.  Put on top and put some spinach and more cheese on top.


  1. I find your honesty so refreshing! I love your descriptions too :)

  2. Thank you! And thanks for reading. :0)