Friday, March 19, 2010

Pollo Bianca

Many years ago the Toronto Star Starweek (a weekly TV guide) had a column called Mary McGrath's Chef’s Showcase where a reader could ask that a favourite recipe from a restaurant be featured. I have cut out many recipes from this section that appealed to me, especially if they were pasta dishes or great desserts. A wonderful carrot cake was featured here and has remained a favourite ever since. There are several recipes that I have torned out from this section that I've made over and over again and Pollo Bianca by chef Sandra Vattay of Pimentos is one of them. Pollo Bianca (gramatically I think it should be Pollo Bianco and that's what we call it), translated means White Chicken and the dish is aptly named because all the main ingredients are pretty much colourless; chicken breast, onions, garlic, mushrooms and cream, white wine and chicken stock. The only colour is in the sundried tomatoes and rosemary and the tri-coloured pasta.

It is one of those pasta dishes that you prepare when you don’t feel like cooking and spending hours tending a pot. It is also a recipe you make if you want to impress your guests - it's that good. That is also why I though this pasta dish would be a perfect entry for Presto Pasta Nights #156 hosted by Our Taste of Life and created by Pollo Bianca is a creamy chicken pasta dish simply flavoured with a bit of fresh rosemary which I snip off from two of my rosemary plants. I prepare all the ingredients before hand and place them in small bowls. Once this is done I put on a large pot of water to boil the tri-coloured fusilli (or rotini as I've use here) and then I cook the sauce. It could not be easier, and honestly you’ll wonder how something so good didn’t take hours to make.

It has been many years since I've cut out this recipe and I wonder if Pimento is still around and if Sandra Vattay is still chef there, probably not I imagine, as restaurants and chefs come and go and just as columns come and go as well, Chef Showcase is no longer featured in Toronto Starweek. I really miss it and I'm sure a lot of readers miss it as well.

Pollo Bianca

2 tbsp. butter
8 oz. boneless chicken breast, diced
salt and pepper
1 small onion
4 oz. mushrooms, quartered
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. dry white wine
½ cup chicken stock
1 to 1½ cups whipping cream
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
1 oz. oil-packed sundried tomatoes, chopped
1½ cups cooked fusilli pasta (you can use 3 cups)
chopped fresh parsley, garnish

In a sauté pan brown chicken in hot butter. Season with salt and pepper. Add onion, cook 1 minute then add mushrooms and cook 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute.
Deglaze pan with white wine, add chicken stock, cream, rosemary, and sundried tomatoes. Simmer gently until thickened. Add cooked pasta, parsley and spoon into two bowls. Garnish with fresh parmesan cheese if desired. Serve immediately.


Melinda said...

Now that looks good! I like that it has ingredients that I have hanging around too! I am going to make this and tell you what I think. I made some fresh chicken stock up only yesterday.

I think it was in Gourmet magazine that had a column similar to Chef Showcase but was called 'You Asked For It.' It was one of my favourite parts of the magazine.

People would ask for the recipe of their favourite foods from restaurants from all around the world and they would somehow extract it out of the chef.
I think Gourmet is no longer now too! Such a shame, I looked forward to my magazine each month.

doughadear said...

Hello Melinda,
I’m looking forward to hearing what you think about this pasta. It is very tasty – the rosemary gives the sauce a beautiful subtle fragrance. I throw in the rosemary sprigs whole rather than chop them in so that the sauce is just infused with the rosemary but it’s really up to you. Either way I am sure you will be pleased. Also, once you have put the pasta into the sauce, let it sit for about five minutes stirring it from time to time. The cream will coat the pasta and improve the taste. I don’t use cheese either as the pasta sauce shines on its own but again you can do whatever you like.
Don't you hate when they yank columns you really enjoy?

Melinda said...

I made it tonight for our dinner. I had everything I needed so didn't need to go shopping either. I didn't have the tri-coloured pasta; just plain fusilli.
We loved it! Ian had seconds. So it was a big hit. Thanks for sharing one of your favourite recipes.

doughadear said...

It is my pleasure to share this recipe and I'm so pleased you liked it. My fear is to post a recipe I love and that it doesn’t work out for whoever tries it. Most people I have made this pasta for will go for seconds so I’m not surprised that Ian did as well. I have often used plain fusilli when I didn’t have tri-coloured in the pantry.

Sabrina said...

Wow, I am definitely going to try this! Thanks for posting! Looks delizioso!

doughadear said...

Thanks Sabrina. You'll love it!

Joanne said...

This sounds and looks delicious! I love how you added some color with the tri-colore pasta.

doughadear said...

Thank you. It really is quite good and simple to make.