Last week, C & I were both outrageously stressed from work, and neither of us wanted to cook. Usually, that means its either a pasta night or a pizza night (we love the Italian ones from Trader Joe's), but we were both needing some protein, and all I really had in the fridge was some chicken (neither of which of us is a fan of, unless it's roasted chicken, and clearly, that wasn't happening).
After rooting around some more in the freezer, I found a bag of frozen baby peas, and I knew that somewhere, I'd had seen a recipe for chicken & peas with pasta, so I set about recreating it.
It turned out to be a really wonderful and incredibly easy dish to prepare, and will become a staple for these types of dinners.
Penne with Chicken & Peas
- 1/2 lb penne pasta, cooked to al dente
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 small shallot, or 1/2 a leek, very thinly sliced
- 1 whole chicken breast, cut into bite-size chunks
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 c. milk
- 1/2 bag frozen peas, or an equal amount fresh peas
- In a large saute pan over medium heat, cook the shallot or leek in the olive oil and half the butter until translucent and softened, but not browned, 2-3 minutes.
- Liberally season the chicken with salt & pepper to taste, plus the paprika. Add to the pan, and brown the chicken well on all sides.
- Push the chicken to the sides of your pan, and melt the additional butter in the center; add the flour and cook for a minute to get rid of the flour's raw taste.
- Increase the heat to medium-high, slowly add the milk or cream, reincorporate the chicken, and bring to a slow boil then immediately reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Allow the sauce to reduce by half (takes just a couple of minutes), then add the peas. Reseason with salt & pepper to taste.
- As soon as the peas have thawed and are tender (maybe 5 minutes ), drain the pasta (reserving a tablespoon or two of cooking water) and add to saute pan. Toss to coat, adding a bit of milk or pasta water if the sauce is too thick to coat the pasta.