Monday, April 16, 2012
Billy's Favorite Pasta
My friend Heather, the one who brought you Shrimp Tacos with Jalapeno-Ranch Sauce, is at it again. Her husband asked her to recreate a pasta dish called Billy's Favorite from Vito's on 42nd, a restaurant he loved growing up. I've never been to Iowa, let alone this restaurant, but if Heather recommends it I make it. I mean really, just read this description - Pine nuts, fresh spinach & garlic, cooked in a light Gorgonzola cheese cream sauce with marinated tomatoes on fussili pasta with grilled chicken. YUM!!!
The smell of the tomatoes marinating all day drove me crazy. I couldn't wait to eat dinner and I may or may not have been sneaking bites of pasta from the skillet as I waited for SP to get home from work. I loved the tang of the balsamic and the tomatoes and spinach cut the richness of the cream sauce.
A word of warning - this dish produces quite a few dishes, but it's definitely worth it. I cooked the chicken in a skillet instead of on the grill to save time (we use charcoal and it takes awhile to get it ready). The Gorgonzola was a tad overpowering for my tastes, so next time I'll use a little less of it. SP loved it so it's definitely a matter of personal preference. Taste the sauce and adjust as needed. I think this would also be delicious with Ranch flavoring, similar to the Ranch Pasta with Bacon, Spinach and Tomatoes.
Thanks for another winner, Heather!
Billy's Favorite Pasta
From Heather, based on Vito's on 42nd
1 lb fussili pasta
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced and divided
salt and pepper
3 tomatoes, diced
1 stick of butter
1 pint heavy cream
4-8 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, to taste
2 chicken breasts
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 bag baby spinach
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Combine vinegar, oil, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add tomatoes and toss to coat. Marinate at least 30 minutes.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Off heat, add the Gorgonzola cheese and stir to melt.
Marinate the chicken in salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon minced garlic, and then grill. Once the chicken is cooked, allow it to rest and then cut into slices on a bias.
In a sauté pan over medium heat, add some oil and the rest of the minced garlic. Cook until fragrant then added in the marinated tomatoes, pine nuts and spinach. Allow the spinach to wilt, and then add in the Gorgonzola sauce, pasta and the sliced chicken. Serve immediately.