After my enlightening and gorgeous experience at Olive Bar & Kitchen last weekend I once again got inspired into pasta making. I had a tuck basket at my disposal with some of the best Olive oils (Leonardo), Olives (Leonardo) and Penne and Spaghetti (also Leonardo), and I could hear the basket beckoning me to my favourite room in my home, my kitchen! After rummaging through my fridge I found bell peppers and two chicken breasts marinated in white wine vinegar, salt, pepper and chilli flakes. So the dinner for the evening was due to be - pan fried chicken strips in a three cheese sauce with penne.... mmmm!
2 chicken breasts, marinated in white wine vinegar, salt, pepper and chilli flakes
4 tbsp Leonardo Olive Oil for pan frying
(Pan fry for 3-4 minutes on each side and put aside. If the chicken has not been marinated long enough then fry a bit longer. If the chicken breasts are thick, you can use a mallet to flatten them a bit)
1 cup red and yellow bell peppers, sliced into think strips
6-8 garlic cloves smashed
1 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
2 cups of milk
2 tsp pasta seasoning (I use Keya)
1 ball of Bocconcini
1/2 cup Fontina or cheddar, grated/crumbled
2 tbsp Parmesan, grated and used for sprinkling when served
Salt and Pepper
(a lot of this is by instinct so don't put in all the milk, start with half and use a whisk to move the sauce around while it thickens, add milk depending upon the consistency you want, I like for the sauce to be the consistency of thick/clotted cream)
1 cup of Leonardo Penne Pasta
1 ltr water
1 tsp Leonardo Olive Oil
(Boil the pasta as per instructions. I don't like 'al dente' pasta on the other I don't like it mushy either, it needs to be cooked to perfection. I have tried different brands and I felt Leonardo cooks the fastest and doesn't have a white floury, starchy residue in the water)
Pan fry the chicken and set aside, in the same pan add the knob of butter and throw in the garlic, fry for a minute or so and add the bell pepper strips. Fry for 2-3 minutes on a low flame, then add the flour, mix it around and let is cook for few minutes. Use a wire whisk to blend in the milk, I use warm milk which helps in avoiding lumps. Keep stirring gently as the sauce thickens, use milk to check the consistency, then add the seasonings. Break the bocconcini into chunks and add those, then the Fontina or cheddar, both add a butteriness to the sauce, though Cheddar is a tad more pungent and sharp. Cut the pan fried chicken breast into strips and add to the sauce. That's it, the sauce is done.
To assemble, put the boiled Penne, top with the sauce, sprinkle grated parmesan over it and serve with warm crusty bread or slices of garlic bread and arugula leaves. I love the combination of hot and cold foods, so I make a quick salad of arugula, pine nuts and garlic slivers, dressed with Leonardo Extra Virgin Olive Oil, lemon juice, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Enjoy!