I got home late from work last night, with a major craving for continental food. I was totally not feeling the mixed vegetable & tomato soup that was supposed to be my dinner (I’m in one of those no-carbs-at-night phase) and was looking at me from the fridge with “poor-me” eyes, begging to be loved. I decided it could wait. Luckily, I had boneless chicken, mushrooms, fresh cream & tomato puree at home. Besides, I had promised A I would cook for him. So I decided to make Chicken in Mushroom Sauce with Pasta & Garlic Bread on the side for dinner for me & my boy.
Now, I’m not a great cook. Just about average. I started taking an interest in cooking just a few months ago, and I cook only about once a week or so. I definitely don’t find it therapeutic as many people do (I do find doing dishes therapeutic though). I also don’t cook the regular chawal-dal fare. I cook when I feel like eating something different - say Italian, Thai, Mexican etc. - but I don’t want to eat out. Or when I feel like cooking for A, who is an absolute gift from heaven! He serves the food, insists on cleaning up after dinner and likes whatever I cook. Yes, he’s that kind of guy :)
So, on demand, here are the recipes for Chicken in Mushroom Sauce, Pasta Arabbiata & Homemade Garlic Bread that I made for dinner last night.
Chicken in Mushroom Sauce (Serves 2)
Boneless Chicken Breasts, whole, without skin - 2-3
Mushrooms, finely sliced - 100gm
Onion, finely sliced - 1 medium (or 2 small)
Garlic, finely chopped - 2-3 cloves
Milk - 200ml
Fresh Cream - 4-5 tbsp
Dried Thyme - ½ tsp
Salt & Pepper
Heat oil in a pan. Sprinkle a pinch of salt (not much) & some pepper on the chicken and cook till done, turning sides.
For the mushroom sauce, heat oil in another pan. Add the sliced onions once the oil is hot and cook till they are soft & translucent. Add the garlic and the mushrooms and cook till mushrooms are dark & soft. Add the milk and fresh cream. Fresh cream will give the sauce the consistency it needs for this dish. Add salt, pepper, dried thyme & bring to a boil. Cook on low-medium heat till the sauce thickens. Pour the sauce on top of the chicken & serve.
Tip: You can also add a sprinkling of paprika for taste but it’s optional. And don’t add too much thyme - this dish is supposed to get its flavor from the mushrooms, not the herbs.
Pasta – desired quantity
Tomato puree (I tried using homemade puree once but the dish didn’t turn out good, so I now stick to packaged puree that you get easily in supermarkets).
Garlic, finely chopped - 3-4 cloves
Parsley (though fresh parsley would give the dish more flavor, ½ tsp of dried parsley works as well)
Salt & pepper
Olive oil - 1 tsp
Boil the pasta, al dente. Drain and set aside.
I prefer cooking the sauce first and then adding pasta to it, rather than adding the sauce to the pasta.
For the sauce, heat olive oil in a pan. Add the chopped garlic and sauté till it’s golden brown. Pour in the tomato puree. Add salt, pepper & parsley and bring the sauce to a boil. Cook for 2-3 mins on low heat. You can then put in the pasta & cook for a few more minutes.
Homemade Garlic Bread
I made this with regular whole-wheat bread. Mix butter, a teaspoon of olive oil & parsley together. Again, fresh parsley, finely chopped, would be better but dried parsley works too. Spread the mixture on the bread slices, wrap in aluminum foil & bake. Servce hot.
Tip: Remember to leave the foil partly open so the bread doesn’t become soggy from the heat getting trapped inside the foil.