Sunday, September 19, 2010

Birthday Dinner: Farfalle with Sausage and Chicken

I thought it might be fun to do a post in the style of my colleague and fellow blogger Marguerite, the proprietor of the blog called Starting in December. The construction of this post won't be nearly as artistic as what she accomplishes with hers, but I can attest that my heart is in the right place.

This will also serve as a tribute, however small, to my wife Debra on the occasion of her birthday, which is tomorrow. In any person's life, there is a short list of people that you can say made you what you are today. In my case, she is at the top of that list. The least I could do was to cook a special dinner for her birthday, although it most be noted that she ably served as sous chef.

Back in the days before the kids got to an age where our daily meals had to be planned around what they would consent to eat, we actually got pretty creative and adventurous with our cooking. We subscribed to Bon Appetit for a long time, and would pick out recipes and give them a shot - particularly pasta recipes.

This is a good one.

In my book, great pasta is one the absolute staples of life. If I were forced (heaven forbid) to choose one type of food to live off of for the rest of my life, there's no doubt in my mind that it would be Italian. You can do just about anything with pasta - light, heavy, and anywhere in between. This recipe is perfect - hearty, but with a lightness at the same time. The sausage and the chicken complement each other perfectly, and the farfalle is light enough to encourage multiple helpings (and we were happy to comply).

The recipe:

(from Bon Appetit, October 1998)

"A hearty and satisfying dish served at Capriccio Ristorante in Albany, Oregon"
(I have no idea whether it still exists today)

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 skinless boneless chicken halves, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pound hot Italian sausages, casings removed
2 cups chopped onions
1 red bell pepper, cut into matchstick-size strips
1 14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/4 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
12 ounces farfalle pasta
1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and saute until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer chicken to bowl. Add wine to skillet; boil until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 3 minutes. Pour wine over chicken. Add sausage, onions and bell pepper to same skillet and cook until sausage browns, breaking up with back of spoon, about 10 minutes. Mix in tomatoes with juices, stock, tomato paste, garlic and rosemary; simmer until reduced to sauce consistency, about 10 minutes. Add chicken and juices; stir to heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.

Drain pasta; return to pot. Mix in sauce, and 1 cup cheese. Transfer to large bowl. Serve, passing remaining cheese separately.



jack said...

Loved reading this entry. I thoroughly enjoyed the photos, too. Happy birthday, Debra. Way to go, Jeff.

jack said...

BTW ... "Jack" is really "Marci McFadden." I had to use Jack's Google account ID to leave the message.

Anonymous said...

Any leftovers?

Jeff V said...

As a matter of fact, yes!

@"Jack/Marci" - thank you!

Marguerite said...

Happy Birthday Debra! This dinner looks worthy of a celebration...I may need to steal the idea for Starting in December :)