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Chicken Florentine Pasta

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INGREDIENTS

Pasta dishes don’t have to be heavy and rich to be delicious and satisfying. Here is a favorite of mine that incorporates some fabulous light and bright vegetables. I love this recipe – it’s a classic with the use of shallots, garlic, dry white wine and stock as a basis for the sauce. Truth be told, you can make a glorious, glossy sauce from just about any pan drippings with the union of those four ingredients.

1 pound Farfalle (Bow-tie pasta) or any other pasta
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 shallot, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup low or no-sodium chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
2 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 6 oz bag baby spinach
6 ounces shaved Parmesan
Toasted pine nuts (toast in a dry sauté pan over medium heat, tossing until lightly golden brown)


INSTRUCTIONS

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan, heat the butter and olive oil over high heat. Add the chicken, cooking undisturbed to allow the chicken to brown, stirring to brown and cook thoroughly. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, and using the remaining chicken drippings, lower the heat to medium. Add the shallot and sauté for 1 -2 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to avoid burning. After about 30 seconds, immediately add the wine to deglaze the skillet. Raise the heat to medium-high and reduce to half. Add the stock and continue to cook until liquid is reduced again. Mixture should be bubbling and beginning to thicken.
Remove pan from the heat. Add the tomatoes, chicken, cooked pasta and 4 ounces Parmesan shavings to the skillet. Toss to combine; add the spinach, which will wilt as you toss.
Add the pine nuts and remaining Parmesan – serve and enjoy!

Bettina Tolin is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin, Texas. She has cooked in the kitchens of the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, Florida. She is currently the Executive Chef and General Manager at Marcello’s Italian Restaurant and Bar in Port Isabel, Texas.

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