MUSHROOM PASTA WITH CHICKEN
AND TOASTED WALNUTS
Pasta dishes are very
easy to prepare for company, as both the pasta and the sauce may be
made ahead and reheated. I myself am very fond of the combination of
mushrooms and sundried tomatoes; if you cannot get sun dried
tomatoes, you can substitute red bell peppers, either fresh or
canned. Wild mushrooms such as chanterelles, morels or cepes will
give the dish a very intense flavor.
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 pounds fresh
mushroom pasta or 1 pound
dried fettuccine, preferably spinach
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 chicken breasts, skinned, boned, split and cut in thin strips
1 pound cultivated or wild mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh summer savory
8 sundried tomatoes, drained and diced, or 4 tablespoons red bell
Minced fresh parsley or summer savory for garnish
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
Stir the cornstarch in the cream to dissolve and set aside. Heat 3
quarts water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the pasta and cook
over high heat until tender to the bite, about 4 minutes for fresh
or 8 to 10 minutes for dried. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Toss the
pasta with 1 tablespoon oil to prevent it from sticking together.
Heat the remaining vegetable oil and the butter in a large skillet
over medium heat, add the chicken and mushrooms and sauté for 2 to 3
minutes. Add 1 cup of the cream mixture. Cook over medium heat until
thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley or summer savory and
tomatoes or bell pepper.
Rinse the oil from the pasta.
Heat the remaining cream to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the
heat to medium and add the pasta. Toss to coat evenly with the cream
and cook long enough to heat and thicken the cream, about 3 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the pasta among 6
serving plates. Spoon the warm chicken mixture on top and sprinkle
with minced fresh parsley or summer savory and toasted walnuts.