Friday, March 19, 2010
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 www.prestopastanights.com #156 hosted by Our Taste of Life and created by http://bernardosworld.blogspot.com. 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.
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.