In the spirit of Valentine's Day, I've decided to do a little countdown this week...each day you'll get a recipe and a clip of one of my all-time favorite romantic movies to help get you in the mood. Even though I've not always had a valentine on this Day of Love, I've always been a fan of the holiday. Okay, so maybe not the actual holiday because those years without a date or boyfriend really sucked, but at least the idea of the holiday. And let me tell you, just because you get married does NOT mean that the rest of your Valentine's Days will be roses and chocolates (I'll catch you up later this week hahaha!), but if you have a good sense of humor (which is a must when you're married anyway), a good romantic comedy and some yummy food can make just about any love disaster at least a little bit better. Yep, I've always lived my life vicariously through movies, and I'm not about to quit now. If you haven't seen Return to Me you have to Netflix it pronto! It will make you laugh (so much!), maybe cry, and definitely leave you feeling the lovey dovey butterflies. Love love love it, and I hope you do, too!
Well, this recipe has been a long time coming, my friends. Truly. This was the very first recipe that I ever looked up on the internet and dared to make with my own two very inexperienced hands. This is the one that started what some may call my cooking obsession. And I may be going a little overboard, but I'm just going to say it anyway, this recipe changed my life. I'd seen Everyday Italian with Giada De Laurentiis a few times before, but when I saw her make this, I just had to try it. I remember the thinking, "It doesn't look that hard." And I also remember that it took me FOREVER to make hahaha! It was my first time using fresh garlic, and my first time making a roue with butter and flour. Oh, the memories. This was the first time I mustered up the courage to seriously step out of my comfort zone in the kitchen - before then everything had been frozen, prepackaged, or a casserole. Anyway, we loved it the first time, and this time it was just as good, except that I forgot to add the peas. But still, it was fun going back to my cooking roots with this delicious Chicken Tetrazzini!
From Giada De Laurentiis of the Food Network
9 Tbsp butter (I only used 5)
2 Tbsp Olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tsp dried
1/2 c. dry white wine, or chicken broth
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
4 c. whole milk (I used skim w/ good results)
1 c. heavy whipping cream, room temp.
1 c. chicken broth
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
12 oz. linguine
3/4 c. frozen peas
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley leaves, or 1 Tbsp dried
1 c. grated Parmesan
1/4 c. dried Italian-style bread crumbs
1. preheat oven to 450.
2. spread 1 Tbsp butter over a 13x9x2-inch baking dish (I just used my oven-safe deep skillet). Melt 1 Tbsp each of butter and oil in a large deep nonstick frying pan over med-high heat. Sprinkle chicken w/ half tsp each of salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the hot pan and cook until pale golden and just cooked through, about 4 min. each side. Transfer the chicken to a plate to cool slightly. Coarsely shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and into a large bowl.
3. Meanwhile, add 1 Tbsp. each of butter and oil to the same pan. Add the mushrooms and saute over med-high heat until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates and the mushrooms become pale golden, about 12 min. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme and saute until the onion is translucent, about 8 min. Add the wine and simmer until it evaporates, about 2 min. Transfer the mushroom mixture to the bowl w/ the chicken.
4. Melt 3 more Tbsp butter in the same pan over med-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 2 min. Whisk in the milk, cream, broth, nutmeg, remaining 1 3/4 tsp. salt and remaining 3/4 tsp. pepper. Increase the heat to high. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 min.
5. Cook pasta as directed, only until tender, but still firm to the bite.
6. Add the linguine, sauce, peas, and parsley to the chicken mixture. Toss until sauce coats the pasta and the mixture is well-blended.
7. Transfer back to the deep oven-safe skillet, or to the prepared baking dish. Stir the cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the pasta. Dot w/ remaining 3 Tbsp. of butter (I didn't do this, and it was still awesome!). Bake uncovered, until golden brown on top and the sauce bubbles, about 25 min.