Yesterday was cause to finally cook the pasta I splurged on last month while perusing the aisles of DiBruno Brothers. I never buy speciality pasta for that exact reason… there always has to be some sort of occasion or reason to let these handcrafted, fancifully packaged pastas see their best friend, boiling water. You spend an arm and a leg on some varieties and then they just sit there, like the prince of the pasta shelf waiting for the perfect moment to shine. Well, my Farro Fettucine finally had its 15 minutes of fame as yesterday I really had something to celebrate.
Recently I have fallen in love with the spin bike, something you would not have caught me saying a year ago. It intimated me, it hurt my booty, and truthfully, I was always convinced I was going about it incorrectly. As with everything else in my life, practice makes perfect, and yesterday I finally accomplished the goal I set for myself …. 26.2 miles in under 60 minutes.
My legs were like a blur in the reflection from the window next to me and once I knew I had the finish line in sight, it was one of the best feelings in the world. A marathon plus close to 300 flights of stairs, I clearly earned my R&R for the rest of the night, and for some reason I was also craving a giant bowl of good job pasta.
Truly a creation of “use what I have in my kitchen”, what resulted was one of the most satisfying meals I have made in a while. Everything tastes better when you have worked hard for it, and more importantly everything tastes amazing when you love your ingredients.
With the left over roasted lemon chicken from Sunday night’s dinner, 3 about to explode almost too ripe tomatoes, a big bag of untouched curly leaf spinach, basil on its last leg, and onion needed chopping – the flavors were all there, I just needed to put them together.
And put them together I did, in my new favorite creation –
Pulled Chicken and Tomato Ragu with Farro Fettucini
Even if you don’t have Farro Fettucini, this ragu is awesome with any whole grain pasta. The nuttiness from the whole grains adds so much in flavor. I also recommend that you cook the pasta al dente because that little bit of crunch does volumes to compliment the thick and substantial sauce.
To prep the chicken, I recommend you use the breast of a rotisserie chicken or even just roast a large chicken breast in the oven. If you like dark meat, chicken thighs are a great option too. I used my left overs from the 5 lb chicken I roasted, and one breast was enough to make this dish for 4 people. Whatever you decide to use, after you shred it up, place it in a saucepan with 1 cup of chicken stock italian seasoning and boil it until the stock has been absorbed.
After slowly caramelizing the beautiful red onions in olive oil, combine the rest of your ingredients as you wish. The green of the spinach and the red of the chopped roma tomatoes are such a classic combination. After the chicken gets tossed in it will absorb the juices from the tomato making it fall apart even more. I also chose to add about a cup of marinara sauce which is also a great way to bring everything together.
Next time you find yourself with a special night, take an inventory of ingredients in your kitchen and see what kind of delicious pasta dish you can muster up! There is really nothing like that comforting texture of a noodle mixed with a freshly simmered sauce, especially when it is in the place of a deserved pat on the back. Heart healthy, hearty, and definitely the perfect way to enjoy yourself and share a great meal with family and friends… Just be prepared to be limited to mutters and quiet commentary in between bites of this one.
Do you have an accomplishment to celebrate? A great idea for a pasta sauce? Or just a thought …? Comment and share or tweet me @gradtogourmet