On the penultimate night of vacation (I love that word), we celebrate with pasta and friends! This past week of vacation in Montreal and then Stowe, Vermont was indulgent, rejuvenating, and just what I needed.
First of all, if you live in New England you need to make the trip up to Montreal. A five (ish) hour drive landed us in a french-speaking, friendly, bike-riding, diverse wonderland with a magnificent range of food delights. The city is tremendously walkable and we spent our days meandering from cafes to micro breweries while debating which of the dueling bagel shops we preferred. Our adventures also led us to the top of Mount Royal, to one of the largest open air markets in North America, and through Quebec’s wine country.
Similar to Ithaca, New York, this region specializes in ice wine, made by picking the grapes after they have frozen which produces a very sweet final product. I tend to prefer drier wine and was excited to find a cider producer who used this same method with apples! We bought some as a gift for my dad and I’m looking forward to trying it again soon.
Tonight, after returning from this lovely trip celebrating our one year wedding anniversary, we had some friends over and made this pasta. Two of our friends surprised us by bringing some of their homemade fresh pasta which added delicious texture to this dish. What an amazing treat! (Note to self – learn how to make homemade pasta.) The sauce was loosely inspired by this recipe and we chose to add chicken and loads of veggies. It feels great to be back home.
Note: This recipe serves 5-6
- 1 pound of pasta
- 3-4 chicken breasts – cubed
- Olive oil
- 1 onion – diced
- 8-10 garlic cloves- diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 2 cups of white wine
- 3-4 cups of chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 1 large head of broccoli
- 3 handfuls of spinach
- 1 large handful of cherry tomatoes – halved
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pecorino to serve
Steps and Notes:
- In salted water, cook pasta to your desired consistency
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet then cook the chicken until browned on all sides. Then remove from the pan
- Saute the onions in olive oil for one minute. Then, add 3/4 of the garlic and chili flakes
- Add the white wine and the bay leaf then cook for 3 minutes allowing the alcohol to cook off
- Pour the chicken stock into the mixture and stir well. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, the remaining garlic, and the butter. Allow this to cook down for about 5 minutes
- Add the broccoli to the sauce and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Using your hands, squeeze the tomatoes into the sauce and add them as well.
- Add the spinach and the cooked chicken and mix well. Cook for a final 3-4 minutes.
- Serve topped with grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
Thoughts for Next Time:
- Make this sauce again and add fresh herbs like rosemary or parsley
- Add some heavy cream! We didn’t have any tonight, but obviously this would be delicious
- Substitute the chicken for shrimp
- Serve with a crusty bread