I tend to do this thing where I cook similar dishes all week. Oh, we had a pasta dish on Monday? Hope you all liked it, because we’re going to have one on Wednesday and Friday as well.
Two of my favorite things to eat are caramelized onions and mushrooms, and although my poor Husband hates onions with a passion, I use every opportunity to work them into a dish. They really do make everything taste better.
I usually say go with whatever pasta you have on hand, but in this case you do want something short and fat to pick up all of that 5,000 calorie cream sauce we are making. Bow ties are cute and I like how the middle of the pasta stays extra chewy.
Do not substitute frozen spinach for the fresh. It’s a huge mistake and will absolutely ruin your sauce, unless you want everything in your bowl to taste like stewed spinach. Frozen spinach is full of water and you should really only use it for dips after squeezing any remaining life out of it after defrosting it in a sad lump in a colander.
- Olive oil, it doesn’t have to be extra virgin if we’re just going to destroy it with heat.
- 1/2 of a yellow onion, diced.
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 chicken breasts, slice them against the grain, we’re going to destroy them while we cook, so don’t worry about how they look.
- 8 oz white mushrooms, sliced, if they are big and the stems look tough pull them out.
- 6 oz fresh spinach, I pull the stems if they are too thick and crunchy looking.
- 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning, I really like Penzey’s blend because it’s well balanced.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 6 oz of Parmesan cheese. We aren’t animals, so I expect you to buy a block of actual parm. You don’t have to grate it, but I do expect you to chop it up into matchsticks.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high and season up the sliced chicken with the Cajun seasoning and a couple of shakes of salt and black pepper. Rub the seasoning in to the chicken and make sure it’s all evenly coated. Cook your chicken in batches making sure not to overcrowd, and use your spoon or tongs to just destroy it. We call this torn up chicken because you’re half shredding it while cooking and rubbing the pulled apart pieces into the seasoning and oil. Drain on a paper towel.
In the same pot, add another tablespoon of olive oil and lower your heat to medium. Add your diced onions and give them a minute to sizzle and then stir in 1/4 tsp of salt and the balsamic vinegar. You’re going to cook your onions over medium low for around 30 minutes. If they start burning lower the heat and if they dry out add a drizzle of oil.
I’m lazy, so I just push my onions up onto the side of the pot while I sauté my mushrooms. Remember how I feel about overcrowding the pan? I’m much more likely to forgive you for overcrowding the chicken than I am for ruining mushrooms.
Sauté the mushrooms for about 5 minutes and then toss your spinach in to wilt. If you’re me and you’re three glasses in, you’ve 100% forgotten to start your pasta. Cook and drain your pasta.
Add your chicken back to your pot and stir in the heavy cream. As soon as it starts to bubble, turn your heat down to medium low and add you cheese. Stir steadily while your cheese melts or you’ll end up with a big wad of ingredients floating in cream. Taste for S&P again at this point.
Stir in your pasta and dish it up. If you “take out the green stuff,” your Biggin won’t complain. He didn’t notice the onions, so I would say I won this round.