10 February 2011

Birthday: Sweet Wine and Garlic Pasta

My birthday dinner. It was gorgeous. Subtle and delicious. I'd accidentally bought a bottle of semi-sweet sparkling wine, and while it was okay, it wasn't my drink of choice on my twenty-first birthday, so into dinner it went. My version of this meal differs slightly from the original in that it is more friendly to a two-hob kitchen with minimal washing up. I have no idea how many pans they were using in the original, but it was too many!

Oh, and it was Tom's first purposeful at-home foray into the world of mushrooms! I decided that I wanted mushrooms on my birthday, and he ate them, with no complaints, and just the observation that they were a bit chewy. This is a major milestone.

Sweet Wine and Garlic Pasta
Serves 2

2 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 an onion
250ml sweet wine, separated
200ml chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon each of any herbs on hand
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon butter, separated
1 handful enokitake or other mushrooms
1 tablespoon cream
Lemon juice (optional)

6 garlic cloves
150g spaghetti

Season the flour liberally and put it into a plastic bag. Add the chicken breasts to the bag and shake thoroughly to cover the chicken.

Fry the chicken in some oil until browned on each side, about three to four minutes a side. You might need to add a bit more oil halfway through. Remove to a separate plate.

Chop the onion and add it to the hot pan with more oil. Allow to soften before adding 200ml of the white wine, reserving 50ml for later. Simmer for a few minutes before adding the chicken stock and herbs: I sprinkled in thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil and parsley. Season.

Once the sauce begins to bubble, return the chicken to the pan and turn the heat up to a medium flame. Simmer roughly for fifteen to twenty minutes, turning the chicken occasionally.

In the meantime, peel the garlic cloves and boil them until they are easily punctured with a fork, about ten minutes. Remove to the plate that held the chicken earlier.

Cut the bottom off the enokitake and wash the mushrooms to get rid of any dirt. Add one tablespoon of butter to the pan that held the garlic cloves and, once melted, add the mushrooms. Fry for a few minutes, stirring, until softened and slightly brown. Remove to a plate.

Wipe out the pan and use it boil your pasta. I had five minute quick-cook pasta, but if you don't, this is when timings could get tricky. If the pasta will need more time, turn the temperature down or off under the chicken temporarily.

Five minutes before the pasta is done, add the mushrooms and cream to the sauce and stir until everything is heated through. Season again and taste. You might want to add a splash of lemon juice for brightness; I didn't feel it was needed.

Once the pasta is cooked, stir it in with the sauce.

In the pasta pan (my, this pan is getting a workout), melt the teaspoon of butter and add the garlic cloves. Fry until lightly browned on each side.

Serve the pasta with the chicken on top and a few scattered garlic cloves.