Monday, July 20, 2009

Pasta with Chicken, mushrooms,
and shallots with a saffron
sauce reduction

I've been on my Lifestyle Modification plan for 99 days now, and Sunday I was just really, really craving some pasta! I've not had any in over three months and being Italian I figured I must be breaking some law somewhere in Italy!

Since on Sundays I get to have 500 calories for my main meal instead of the 300 I do for other days of the week, I decided I must have some pasta. Thanks to a show I saw last week on the Food Network with Bobby Flay, I decided it had to be flavored with saffron. This is also the first time I've used shallots in a recipe. And David, they were Christopher Ranch shallots.

I made the following dish which turned out so good I had to share the recipe. A lot of times when I post a recipe here, it is the second, third, or even fourth attempt because I won't post a recipe unless I think it tastes great enough to share. In this case, I hit "killer!" on the first try.

Note cooking the pasta in water & chicken broth along with saffron adds excellent coloring and flavor to the pasta. Reducing the liquid by cooking off the water, combined with adding the pasta before it is fully cooked, provides enough starch to make a light sauce that clings to the pasta. Figuring most of you have significant others, unlike myself, I adjusted the recipe below to allow two servings instead of the single portion I made yesterday which is pictured below:

Recipe: Pasta with Chicken, mushrooms, and shallots with a saffron sauce reduction
Serves: 2
Calories per serving: about 350
Nutrition info: very low in fat and sodium

2 large shallots thinly sliced
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
.2 grams Saffron Threads
16 ounces low sodium chicken broth
8 ounces boneless skinless Chicken Breast
4 ounces Dreamfields Rotini pasta
I Can't Believe It's Not Butter No Calorie Pump Spray
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chopped chives to taste

Combine 1 cup of chicken broth, half of saffron threads, and 3 cups of water in a pot and bring to boil. Once water is boiling add pasta to water and cook for 8 minutes. When completed, drain pasta and return to covered to pot to keep warm. Note pasta should be yellow in color from the saffron.

While water is heating spray bottom of frying pan with PAM and add shallots and chicken, cooking for several minutes while stirring shallots once a minute until chicken is browned on one side. Turn chicken, stir shallots, and add 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms to pan along with remaining 8 ounces of chicken broth and saffron threads. Bring to simmer and cover over low flame until pasta is finished, about 5 minutes.

Remove lid and break apart chicken with spatula. Sprinkle lightly with freshly ground black pepper. Add pasta and stir to combine. Cook covered so mixture simmers for 5 minutes. Remove lid and slightly increase heat until mixture returns to simmering. Stir every minute until liquid has thickened (another 5-10 minutes.)

Lightly spray surface of frying pan contents with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray and stir. Remove from heat and place food on serving platter, sprinkle with chopped chives, serve and enjoy!

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