If April showers truly bring May flowers, then central Iowa is in for one helluva pretty Spring!
That is to say, it’s been raining here…like, a lot…and next week’s forecast isn’t looking any better. This is the kind of weather that makes you want to curl up with a good book and eat carbs all day long, like warm muffins, hot buttered popcorn, and Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta. It’s only Thursday but I’ve already made this cozy, comforting dish twice this week!
Speaking of books real quick – I read Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places on the way to Charleston, and wow – disturbing. Like way more disturbing than Gone Girl, but still genius writing and I totally didn’t see the end coming, which was awesome you know? On the lookout for a new title. Any recs?
Anyways, while Ben and I like leftovers he’s not a huge repeat dish guy. That said, even he wasn’t complaining when I told him I’d be making this elegant, grown up mac & cheese featuring garlicky kale, chopped chicken, sauteed mushrooms, and thick mascarpone cheese for a second time this week so I could share the recipe with you guys. Last time we, uh, ate the whole thing and there was nothing left to photograph. Whoops!
Mascarpone cheese is what makes this dish so delicious, as it’s thick, creamy and forms a luscious sauce to coat the pasta with when combined with a little chicken broth. Sauteed garlicky kale provides a toothsome bite, and chicken gives it saying power. Whether it’s raining where you are, or perfectly sunny, I deem this a dish you must try!
Start by preppin’ your veggies including 8oz button mushrooms. You could use any type of fresh mushroom that you like – just buy em’ whole (and in bulk, when you can!) as they tend to be more expensive when pre-sliced. While I loathe mushrooms in all forms (Ben’s obsessed,) for some reason I really like slicing them. It’s like cutting through fluff. Teehee!
Also chop > rinse > dry 6 cups chopped kale. Kale can look intimidating at the grocery store, but it’s really easy to prep. Just pull the leaves off the tough stem, then chop!
6 cups is about 1/2 a big bunch of kale. After chopping, rinse then send through the salad spinner to dry.
K, time to get cookin’! Start by boiling 6oz farfelle pasta (bow ties y’all) in a large pot of salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain then set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil in a very large skillet then cook 2 chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper over medium-high heat until no longer pink in the center. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Heat 1 more teaspoon oil in the skillet then saute 1 chopped shallot for about a minute, just until it turns golden brown, then melt 1 Tablespoon butter and add the sliced mushrooms. Season generously with salt and pepper then saute until they start to turn golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
Next add the chopped kale. It will look like an impossibly huge pile but will quickly cook down. Also add 2 chopped garlic cloves then cook for a minute or so, just until the kale wilts.
Almost done! Even though the kale has wilted it’s not cooked all the way, so add 1/3 cup chicken broth to the skillet, pop a lid on top, and steam the kale for 3-4 minutes, or until it’s tender.
Once the kale is tender, add 4oz mascarpone cheese to the skillet. This stuff is rich, creamy, and sooooo dreamy. It’s what makes this dish taste ultra elegant and decadent!
Stir the cheese until melted, adding a few Tablespoons chicken broth to make a nice and creamy sauce.
Add the pasta and cooked chicken back in then season with more salt & pepper and stir, stir, stir.
Ben recommends devouring with a nice glass of cabernet – I recommend just diving in. This dish is HEAVEN!
Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta
Inspired by Giada de Laurentiis
8oz farfelle pasta, or other short-cut pasta
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
salt & pepper
1 shallot, chopped
1 Tablespoon butter
8oz sliced button mushrooms
6 cups chopped kale
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 – 3/4 cup chicken broth, divided
4oz mascarpone cheese
- Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain then set aside
- Heat 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper then add to skillet and cook until no longer pink in the center. Remove to a plate then set aside.
- Heat remaining teaspoon oil in skillet then add shallots and saute until they begin to turn golden brown, 1 minute. Add butter and melt then add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and saute until mushrooms begin to turn golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Add kale and garlic then saute until kale begins to wilt, 1 minute.
- Add 1/3 cup chicken broth to skillet then place a lid on top and steam until kale is tender, 3-4 minutes. When tender, add mascarpone cheese and enough chicken broth to make a sauce then stir until smooth. Stir in cooked pasta and chicken then taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
I promise you will devour this creamy, chewy, hearty dish. Don’t count on any leftovers!