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Sunday, 2 June 2013

Chicken, Spinach & Mushroom Florentine Pasta

My son told us recently that he had 'an experience where he learned he likes mushrooms.'  Since then, it seems like we've had them fairly regularly.  I keep finding various ways to pop them into dishes where I might not have put them before.  I wasn't sure how mushrooms would fit into an already tasty chicken florentine, but it was an absolute success!  In fact, I actually like it more than normal chicken florentine. And, it turns out to be one of those odd recipes that seems to taste even better the next day! 

Chicken, Spinach & Mushroom Florentine Pasta
Serves 4
Cook 8 oz/225 g gluten-free penne pasta in lightly salted water. 
(NOTE: I find that most gluten-free pastas suggest cooking 4-6 minutes, and I find they need more like 10-12 minutes.  Make sure you taste a piece so it’s how you like your pasta to taste before draining the pasta). 
Once cooked, drain pasta, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
You have 2 options in this recipe. 1. Use pre-cooked chicken, 2. use raw chicken.
Either way, cut into cubes:
1 – 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pre-cooked or raw)
In a large skillet over medium heat add:
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
If using raw chicken, add chicken to the butter/oil and cook, rotating the chicken occasionally, until fully cooked.  Remove from pan and set aside.   There should be enough oil/butter left to cook the rest of your vegetables, but if in doubt, add a little more oil.
Add and cook until softened:
1 – 2 cups sliced button mushrooms, stems removed
4 tsp minced garlic
Add to the pan:
1 cup chicken broth
dash of white wine vinegar (optional, but adds a bit of extra flavor)
Salt and pepper
(you could sprinkle in a hint of oregano & basil, too, if you like)
This is after mushrooms have cooked and broth has been added.

Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. 
While waiting for this to boil, mix together in a small bowl:
1/8 cup cold water
1 heaping tsp cornstarch
Add the cornstarch mixture to the mushrooms, stirring constantly.  Mixture will thicken a bit. 
Then add, and bring back to boil:
Cooked chicken, diced/cubed
It’s best to taste now, to see if you need to add any more salt and pepper to your mixture.
Remove the pan from heat and add:
1 – 2 big handfuls of spinach (bunched together and sliced)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Cooked penne pasta
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

I tend to fold in the spinach and tomatoes while in the frying pan.
You can toss together with penne and parmesan in your pan or in your serving bowl.

Toss gently. Pour into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with more grated parmesan, if desired. 

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