Thursday, April 18, 2024

Weekly Cooking Report April 18: Pasta Alfredo with Grilled Chicken and Wilted Spinach

This is a recipe I picked up very early in my cooking journey and it's a good one. I'm gonna break it into parts. 

For the chicken cutlets, there's more detail here but its pretty basic: get two chicken breasts from the store, salt (3/4 tsp) and pepper (1/4 tsp) them, add them to some hot oil (2 tbs under medium high heat for 3 minutes/until shimmering) in a skillet, and cook 5-7 minutes on a side. Remember the chicken wants to tell you when it's done, so if you try to flip it and it sticks, it's not ready. The internal temp of the chicken should be 165F. Give it 5 minutes minimum to rest and slice it for serving. 

For the pasta alfredo, get a heat resistant serving bowl and put 1 stick of salted butter, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 3/4 cup grated parmesan (should it be freshly grated? yes. Does it have to be? no, buy the damn tub of grated parmesan if you don't have time), 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (see comments on parmesan r.e. grating) and a touch (1/8 tsp) of fresh grated nutmeg (buy the whole nutmeg and grate some of it; this one matters). set the water to boil and put the serving bowl over the saucepan so the sauce melts and comes together under the heat from the water. It should be ready when the water comes to boil. 

Put the pound of pasta - fettuccini is traditional, spaghetti works - in the water, and let the heat bend it until everything is in the water. Cook per the directions on the box, probably 8-10 minutes. When the pasta is ready, pour it into the serving bowl and mix together. Lay the chicken over it and you're done. 

Now, you can skip the spinach and go with chopped fresh basil on top and it's delicious. Or you can do the spinach, which is what I did here.

For the spinach take 4 oz of baby spinach and mix it with some olive oil (2 tbs, just to coat) lemon juice (1 tsp), a pinch of salt and pepper, and put it into a colander and place that over the the boiling water when you're making the pasta. It will wilt under the steam in about 3 minutes, so save it towards the end of the pasta cook time. (A more complex wilted spinach recipe is here, but the flavors on that don't blend as much)

Sprinkle the spinach over the chicken on the pasta and serve to a grateful family. 

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