Saturday, February 19, 2011

Guest Contributor: Ellen Pastusak and Creamy Tuscan Chicken

My friend Ellen is fun. She's one of those people who seems to just be in love with all aspects of life. She has an ease and simple humor in her approach. She's also straight-forward without the extra wrapping.

She offered this delicious and fairly simple recipe. As I read it, I dreamed of the history, it must have come from some fabulous trip with her husband to some wonderful corner of Italy. So I asked about the history. She replied, "I actually saw this recipe on the package of Fosters Farm chicken I got at Costco." She said something about it being more elegant if she'd found it in GOURMET magazine, at which point I forgot all about the little Tuscan village and got a little teary eyed (I do miss GOURMET).

Well, this is elegant simplicity at it's best and I bet you'll love it. (Don't you wish you could dip a little rustic bread in that pan!)

Ellen's right about the sum of the parts, each ingredient in this recipe is good, but when you put them all together they are perfection!  And the ingredients together are Ellen's take on a quality, comforting dinner entree. A proven winner. And she promises, it tastes splendid reheated.

Here's the recipe.:
Creamy Tuscan Chicken a la Ellen
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 T. olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup heavy cream
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup packed fresh spinach
1 cup fresh basil, rough chopped
1.  Heat oil in non-stick pan on medium high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook on medium high heat for 8 minutes per side.  Remove chicken from pan and set aside for later use.
2.  Add white wine to hot pan and let reduce by half.  Add mushrooms and saute for 4-5 minutes.  Add heavy cream, garlic and Parmesan cheese.  Mix well and bring to simmer.  Add spinach and basil and cook until spinach becomes tender.
3.  Place chicken back in pan with sauce to reheat - simmer for 5 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165.  Serve alone or with pasta or risotto.
(to quicken cooking time, flatten chicken with mallet before cooking)

Give it a try and leave your thoughts in a comment!