Creamy One-Pot Pasta With Chicken and Mushrooms
Cooking pasta similarly to making risotto may seem trendy, but it's a technique with a history dating back as far as 1976 when it was demonstrated to me in Rome. I suspect it's as old as pasta itself. This method involves minimal liquid, eliminating the need for a gallon per pound of pasta. Instead, the liquid is added gradually to the pasta, allowing it to absorb completely and retain its starch.This results in a creamy and rich pasta that absorbs flavorful stock. You can choose any pasta shape, but cooking times may vary depending on the size. While this approach may seem more involved than traditional pasta-making, it becomes a one-dish meal since the "sauce" is seamlessly integrated into the pasta-cooking process. It's as captivating as making risotto and even a tad quicker. Here's a recipe featuring Gemelli pasta with mushrooms and chicken to get you started.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil more as needed
- 1 shallot or small onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 cups crimini shiitake or button mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
- ½ pound cut pasta like gemelli or penne or long pasta broken into bits
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup dry white wine or water
- 3 to 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 boneless chicken thighs diced
- Chopped fresh parsley optional
- Freshly grated Parmesan optional
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Once it's hot, add the shallot, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms become soft and develop a golden edge, approximately 10 minutes. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until it becomes shiny and well-coated with oil, which should take about 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt and pepper, then pour in the wine. Stir and allow the liquid to bubble away.
- Gradually ladle the stock into the skillet, starting with about ½ cup at a time, stirring after each addition, and repeating this process every minute or so. The mixture should neither be overly soupy nor completely dry. Keep the heat at medium and stir frequently.
- Start tasting the pasta about 10 minutes after you add it to the skillet. It should be tender with a slight crunch. When the pasta is approximately 3 to 4 minutes away from being fully cooked, add the chicken and mix it in. Continue cooking until the chicken is fully cooked, which you can check by cutting it open to ensure it's white on the inside. Adjust the seasoning to your taste, and if desired, garnish with parsley and Parmesan before serving.