Restaurant Recreation–Rosemary Chicken Pasta
|January 3, 2013||Posted by jcogswell1 under Boston Young Foodie Spots, Dinner, Restaurant Recreations|
There is a small restaurant located in Needham, MA called Sweet Basil, that Tommy and I have been going to for years. We first started going as students at Babson College when the restaurant literally had less than 10 tables and you had to walk through the kitchen to get to the bathroom. To make matters worse, Sweet Basil has never taken reservations, so if you wanted to have dinner there, you usually had to arrive around 5:30 to ensure that there wouldn’t be a long wait. Luckily, since the early years of us going there, the restaurant has expanded. While it still isn’t huge, there are more like 20 tables now. There is usually still a wait if you go during prime time hours on the weekend, but it is definitely not as bad as it used to be.
Even when we have to wait, Tommy and I always think its worth it. The food at Sweet Basil is delicious, reasonably priced and comes in HUGE portions. The portions are so big in fact that you can’t even order an appetizer or salad and an entrée unless you want to bring a significant amount of leftovers home. Additionally, Sweet Basil serves this AMAZING pesto dip alongside their fresh bread as soon as you sit down. This pesto is so good, you cannot help but eat at least two pieces of bread with it. Well, maybe somebody with extreme willpower could, but I certainly could not.
While we absolutely love going to Sweet Basil (as if you couldn’t tell!), it was a wonderful surprise when Tommy told me that he had received the Sweet Basil Cookbook as a Christmas gift from his mom. The ability to make your favorite dishes from Sweet Basil without having to leave my kitchen? It was a dream come true!
When Tommy visited Chicago over the New Years holiday, he brought the cookbook with him and we decided to make something out of it while he was here. And this wasn’t just any dish we were choosing, we selected Tommy’s all time favorite dish at Sweet Basil (and maybe even anywhere?!?): Rosemary Chicken Pasta.
This dish is admittedly extremely rich thanks to the TWO CUPS of heavy cream in the recipe. But don’t be deterred, because a little portion goes a long way. Plus, I opted to up the veggie content from the original recipe to get a little additional nutritional boost.
You could use whole wheat pasta in place of semolina pasta to increase it even further.
I served the pasta alongside a giant arugula and grape tomato salad. I like to think that a big salad always negates a heavy pasta dish. That’s how it works, right? Don’t answer that.
I have a feeling that this is just one of many recipes that I will be making from this cookbook as there are so many dishes that I love from Sweet Basil. I thought that having this cookbook would reduce the number of times I would have to come face to face with the pesto dip because I could visit Sweet Basil less frequently, but as luck would have it, Sweet Basil included that recipe in the book as well! I’ll just have to remember to make one recipe at a time and enjoy these delicious meals in moderation!
Restaurant Recreation – Rosemary Chicken Pasta – Serves 6 (Inspired by the recipe from Sweet Basil’s Cookbook)
1 lb Rigatoni pasta
3 round slices (approximately 1/4 inch thick) pancetta, chopped
1 1/2 lb chicken breast (preferably organic), cut into large chunks
1 TB EVOO
1 TB butter
S+P to taste
1 TB garlic, minced
1 tsp rosemary, minced
1 cup asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (approximately 12-15 asparagus stalks)
4 plum tomatoes, chopped (approximately 2 cups)
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup asiago cheese, grated
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt. Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, add chopped pancetta to a large sauté pan. Turn pan to medium and cook pancetta until brown and crispy, but not burnt. Drain the fat from the pancetta on a paper towel lined plate, keeping the excess oil in the pan.
In the same pan, add the butter and olive oil and melt together over medium heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Brown both sides of the chicken.
Meanwhile, mince the garlic and rosemary.
Add the minced garlic, rosemary and reserved pancetta to the pan with the chicken. Continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes, until the garlic is cooked. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook for 5 minutes or until the wine has almost evaporated entirely.
Add the chicken stock, heavy cream, chopped tomatoes and asparagus to the pan. Cook everything together for 5 minutes.
At this point I removed the chicken so that the sauce would thicken more quickly. Once it is thickened to your desired consistency, add the shredded asiago and parmesan cheeses. Stir until well combined. Add the chicken back to the sauce and cook for another 2-3 minutes until heated through. Taste and adjust for seasoning (we needed to add a little more salt at this point).
Add the sauce to the pot holding the drained pasta noodles and stir everything to combine.
Serve a couple of spoonful’s (trust me that’s all you will need) in a bowl and enjoy!
This dish makes great leftovers because the flavors seem to come together even more after a day or two in the fridge.
After Tommy and I were pleasantly full, instead of the usual overstuffed feeling we get after visiting Sweet Basil, we took some cider to the living room and enjoyed a nice big fire during a cold Chicago night!
It was the perfect way to kick off our five day New Years Vacation!