Wednesday, June 2, 2010
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Normally - I am one to refuse baking any main dish that includes pasta - these days. I dunno. They seem to have cheated on ingredients with every domestic brand of pasta you find in the grocery stores - enough that the texture becomes mushy - and turns my gut. If you attempt to add it into the dish uncooked - it usually comes out crispy in ways that can break a horse’s teeth.
( All the Ingredients you'll need for this recipe. )
And then - God blesses me! My eyes land on Calovita Pasta - and those little Fettuccine “ Nests “ intrigue me enough to take some home to try. Okay - the fact that the address on the package is located in Italy didn’t exactly dance with my skeptic senses. Anyway - my first impression was such an “ Ahaaaa ! “ moment with my Spaghetti that I won’t buy any other brand of Fettuccine - any longer!
The texture of this noodle - even after being thrown into the oven after being boiled - reminded me of my Mother’s Tuna Casserole that she made when I was very little. I can still remember the texture of that noodle. And after all these years - finally! I’ve enjoyed a wonderful reunion! I think everybody knows - the secret to liking Tuna Casserole has everything to do with the texture of the pasta!
This dish I'm sharing here turned out to be a concoction of ingredients that my whole body seemed to be craving - for over a week. Let’s face it - Chicken breasts can bring about some fairly interesting *cough* conversations - when combined with enough testosterone - beer - and more than one male in the room. Hence my choice for naming this concoction. Let’s just get that over with and move on - so we can chow down, Guys!
And “ chow down “ is exactly what my husband did last night. I have never seen him enjoy eating anything I’ve ever cooked for dinner - anywhere near as much! It was almost comical. I’m not sure he realized the noises he began making along the way. And in between - several times I was being told - “ This is really good, Baby. “
And he was drinking sweet tea!
Okay - here goes! Here’s the list of all that you’ll need for the entire dish!
Teresa's Buried Boobs
2 - 4 Chicken Breasts
Course Ground Pepper
Fettuccine Pasta ( cooked al-dente )
2 TBL. Olive Oil
16 oz. Canned Tomatoes
White Sauce w/Herbs ( recipe/Instructions below )
¾ lb. shredded Mozzarella Cheese ( approx. 2 ¾ c. )
1 pkg. Baby Portabella Mushrooms
White Sauce with Herbs
1 stick unsalted Butter
1 TBL Sea Salt
¼ c. plus 2 TBL. Flour
1 TBL. Chopped fresh Garlic ( approx. 5 good-size cloves )
Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper
1 c. Chicken Broth
1 ½ c. Pet Milk ( large can )
3 sprigs fresh Basil ( approx. ¾ c. )
4 sprigs fresh Greek Oregano ( approx. 1/3 c. )
1 handful fresh chives ( approx. ½ c. )
Let’s get to burying these Boobs!
1. Make sure chicken breasts are completely thawed out.
2. Pinch leaves off Basil. Stack with largest on the bottom. Beginning from the end of the largest leaf - roll the bunch of leaves up to the top of the leaves ( like a burrito ). Cut into thin strips from one end to another. Place in a bowl ( same size as for eating cereal ).
3. Strip leaves off Greek Oregano. Mince with a knife. Place into bowl with Basil.
5. Chop Chives same as you would for a baked potato. Place into bowl with the other two herbs.
6. Pre-heat oven to 375*.
7. Wash chicken breasts under cold water and set into your - 2” deep minimum - baking dish. Sprinkle with course ground black pepper and sea salt.
8. Bake in pre-heated oven - without lid or foil covering - for 45 minutes.
While you’re baking the boobs - prepare the White Sauce with herbs - pasta - and the mushrooms.
1. Fill a 3 qt. almost 2/3 of the way with water. Add Olive Oil. Speed the process of bringing the water to a boil by placing a lid over the saucepan. Place pasta into boiling water. You’ll need to watch the pasta. Cook until al-dente ( approximately 10 minutes ). Drain and rinse with cold water. Keep it in the saucepan with the lid over the top until ready for use. I usually drizzle a little more olive oil over the pasta and stir it in. Keeps the pasta from sticking.
2. Melt stick of butter in 3 qt. saucepan on Medium Heat (very important) . Add 1 TBL. Sea Salt - Garlic - and pinch of Crushed Red Pepper. Stir and let meld for about 1 minute.
3. Using a Whisk - add flour. Whisk until smooth. Add Pet Milk and Chicken broth. Whisk until smooth.
4. Cook mixture on medium heat - constantly stirring with Whisk for about 20 minutes - or until as thick as cream of mushroom soup.
5. Once you see a thick wall of sauce trying to remain on the sides of the saucepan - remove from burner. Don’t forget to turn the burner off !
6. Add herbs into mixture. Stir into mixture.
7. Pull stems off mushrooms. Clean mushroom buttons with damp paper towel.
8. Grate the Mozzarella Cheese! ( Set it back in the fridge until the chicken comes out of the oven ! )
Once the Boobs have baked for 45 minutes - remove them from the oven and set on a hot pad in your work area.
1. See the drippings in the pan? With a basting brush - brush the drippings up the sides of the pan. Use a folded paper towel if you don’t have a basting brush. Do not discard excess drippings.
2. Distribute mushroom buttons over entire pan. Follow with pasta.
3. Without straining canned tomatoes - spoon entire contents over chicken - mushrooms - and pasta.
4. Very carefully - begin distributing White Sauce with Herbs over entire dish. You will need to do this in intervals - allowing the sauce time to fall down into the other ingredients. You may even want to lift a side of each breast with a fork to allow the mixture room to fall in.
5. Once all the White sauce is distributed across the entire dish - place back into the oven for 35 minutes.
6. After 35 minutes - remove the pan from the oven. Distribute the shredded Mozzarella cheese.
7. Place back into the oven for another 10 minutes.
8. After removing from the oven - allow to sit for 10 more minutes.
9. Use a sharp knife to cut sections into the cheese.
10. Find your chicken breasts with tongs ( or a fork ) and remove chicken breast from pan to plate.
11. With a large serving spoon - dish out all the other goodies onto your plate!
Yes - things may look a little “ watery “ in the pan - at first. Don’t worry. That’s what allows your chicken breast to cook up nicely moist and tender!
I will tell you this much. Being able to add fresh herbs and your own home-grown and home-canned tomatoes makes such a huge difference in the taste of this dish!!
If you haven’t done so yet - get out there and learn how to grow your own herbs and tomatoes!
Okay now - the fun part - Photos for visual support below!
After baking in oven for 45 minutes.
Place Mushroom buttons into pan.
Spread the cooked Pasta.
Spoon canned tomatoes over Pasta.
Spread White Sauce with Herbs over entire dish - slowly - in intervals - allowing sauce to move down into the dish. Place back into the oven and bake for 35 minutes.
Remove from oven and distribute shredded Mozzarella cheese. Place back into oven for another 10 minutes.
Buried Boobs! Wait 10 more minutes after removing them from the oven for the last time - before slicing cheese into sections with a sharp knife. Using tongs or a fork - go in and pull a breast out and place onto a plate. Spoon all the other good stuff out onto the plate.