I really love pasta, but years of eating spaghetti with the same old sauce has worn on me. Recently I posted about a wonderful and authentic Italian recipe called Farfelle alla Vesuviana, which has been added to my permanently collection. I found that recipe, and the one I’m about to share with you, in the book 250 True Italian Pasta Dishes. I love it when I find a cookbook that has consistently good recipes. I’ve tried several already, and each one has been delicious.
This recipe is actually called Fettucini with Chicken-Tomato Sauce and Fava Beans. The first time I made it I used the fettucini, but substituted green beans for fava beans. Hubby isn’t much of a fettucini man, so tonight I used spaghetti and green beans and we had a winner. I personally thought it was fabulous with the fettucini too!
A couple of interesting tidbits from the book:
1) Chicken is not normally part of an authentic Italian pasta dish. Chicken, duck and turkey were considered important main dish meals and were generally not cooked into a pasta sauce, but rather roasted as a main course.
2) The author of the cookbook, John Coletta, runs a restaurant in Chicago. While he tries to keep his recipes as authentic as possible, adding chicken to some dishes is pretty necessary due to the American’s love for all things chicken.
Spaghetti in Chicken-Tomato Sauce with Green Beans
adapted from 250 True Italian Pasta Dishes
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup each finely diced onion, peeled celery, and trimmed fennel bulb
1 tsp paper thin garlic slices (about 1 large clove)
1 cup diced skinless, boneless chicken thigh meat (about 2 thighs)
1/4 cup dry white Italian wine (Pinot Grigio)
3 cups canned crushed Italian tomatoes (2 14-oz cans, juice and all)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 lb spaghetti
3/4 cup fresh green beans, blanched
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided
In covered pasta pot over high heat, bring water to a rapid boil.
Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add onion, celery, fennel and garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in chicken, stir until no longer pink, then add wine. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until wine has reduced by half (about 5-6 minutes). Add tomatoes, reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
While sauce is simmering, add salt and spaghetti to boiling water and cook, uncovered, over high heat, until pasta is almost al dente. Scoop out about 1 cup of the pasta water and set aside. Drain pasta.
Return saute pan to medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of reserved pasta water and green beans and simmer until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add spaghetti and cook for about 3 minutes, until pasta is al dente, using pasta tongs to toss and coat evenly, adding more pasta water if necessary. Add half of the grated cheese and toss. Transfer to serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Serve immediately.