Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Random Cookbook of the Week - Pasta en Brodo from The Food You Want to Eat

The first cookbook drawn for my rebooted Random Cookbook Challenge was Ted Allen's The Food You Want to Eat: 100 Smart, Simple Recipes. And since Mr. Fraser and I have both been battling a particularly vicious summer cold, I chose to make what amounts to chicken soup:

Pasta en Brodo

Kosher salt for boiling pasta
6 c. canned low-sodium chicken stock
6 skinless chicken thighs, about 2 pounds
2 garlic cloves, halved
10 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 large sprig of fresh thyme (optional--I meant to use it but forgot)
1 clove (optional--this I remembered)
1/2 lb. green beans, ends trimmed
1 lb. farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 T chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for serving

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the chicken stock, chicken thighs, garlic cloves, peppercorns, bay leaf, and thyme and clove if using. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, partly covered, for 30 minutes to cook the chicken. Skim and discard any gray foam that rises to the top.

3. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon. Strain the sock through a fine strainer into a clean saucepan and boil to reduce to 4 cups, about 10 minutes. Bone two of the chicken thighs and shred the meat; set the meat aside. Wrap and refrigerate the remaining chicken for another use.

4. When the pasta water comes to a boil, add the beans and cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon to a colander and refresh them with cold water to keep the bright green color. Then pat dry, cut into 1-inch pieces, and set aside.

5. Add the farfalle to the boiling water and cook until not quite tender, about 8 minutes. (You want to undercook the pasta slightly because it will cook further in the stock.) Drain and discard the pasta water.

6. Pour the reduced stock into the pasta pot. Add the green beans, shredded chicken, and olive oil, and bring to a simmer. Add the farfalle, ground pepper, and the parsley, and toss over medium heat for 30 seconds to warm the pasta and cook it completely. Remove from the heat. Use a slotted spoon to divide the pasta, chicken, and beans among 4 large, deep pasta plates. Ladle about 1/4 of the stock into each bowl and sprinkle each with 1/4 c. of the cheese.

Mr. Fraser liked this one better than I did and thinks I should make it again, possibly tweaking the ingredients a bit to lighten it up. (We're both on Weight Watchers, and this thing was a major hit to our points budget.) As for my opinion, well, while it's not a hard recipe, it did take me a little over an hour and cluttered the kitchen with dirty dishes. Given how busy my life is, if it takes more than 45 minutes and gives me more than one dishwasher load of dirty dishes, it better be something I'd proudly serve to company--like the rib recipe in this same cookbook. This was nice, but it was chicken soup.

Next week I'll be staying in the "cookbooks by Food Network hosts" section of my bookshelf and making something from Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for More Food. I may change my mind between now and this weekend's grocery run, but for now I'm torn between pineapple upside-down cake and blackberry grunt.

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