Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chicken Penne with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Zucchini in Cream Sauce

This one's decadent. There's more than one way to make a cream sauce and for this one I like to use some mayonnaise... blame my French half, I guess. You do have to be careful not to overdo it with the mayo because with the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes it can get very rich.

You will need:

12 oz penne pasta
1 large chicken breast, cut into medallions
2-3 gloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
2/3 cup of sun-dried tomatoes in oil, sliced into pieces
2 large baby portobello mushrooms or 1 average adult portobello, finely diced*
2 zucchinis, cut length-ways and then sliced into half-rounds
2 leveled tablespoons of mayonnaise--I recommend the kind made with olive oil (less fat)
3 tablespoons of light sour cream
About a half a cup of nonfat or low fat milk (you'll be eyeballing this)

measuring cups
measuring spoons
a chef's knife (wide is best for crushing the garlic with the flat of the blade) 
large frying pan or wok
large crock pot
resealable container
wooden or other type of spoon for stirring

Boil and strain the penne according to the package instructions.

While you wait for the water to boil and for the pasta to cook, put the garlic in the pan or wok with the chicken and just a sprinkle of salt. Add about a tablespoon of oil from the sun-dried tomatoes. Start off on high heat, so you brown the chicken a bit. One you see some browning, lower to medium-high. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and zucchinis, and treat it like a stir-fry: let it sit for no more than a minute or two between stirs.

While that cooks, put the mayonnaise, sour cream, and about a third cup of milk in the resealable container. Make sure the lid is on tight and shake. Open it up. The consistency should be creamy but pourable, like thick blue cheese salad dressing. If it is too thick, add more milk and shake again.

When the chicken and vegetables are almost completely cooked, pour the cream mixture in with them. The zucchini are your best indicators, here. The centers should start to look seedy and translucent but the green of the skins should still be bright. Lower the heat all the way and stir.

Right about at this point the penne should be ready to strain. Dish out the penne with the chicken mixture on top. Enjoy!

* Portobellos can be spongy and unless you like that, cutting them into smaller pieces means they'll cook through and lose that spongy texture. Baby portos are less spongy than adult, in my experience.

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