Rigatoni with Chicken, Mushrooms & Spinach

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I have to admit that more nights than not, I put quite a bit of planning into what I make for dinner. Sometimes it’s because I bought a new cookbook or I came across a new recipe online, or it could just be that I’m food obsessed and feel the need to over-think every meal I make. I’m going with the latter.

Usually my family is very supportive of my cooking. They clearly benefit with every bite, however we do eat late each night and it never ends up being simple.

A couple of Sundays ago around 5pm my daughter asked if I was making dinner and how long will it take? My response was yes, I am cooking and that I thought it would be about 2 hours. She stated, “I really appreciate your cooking mom, but sometimes I wish you could be like a regular mom and just throw something in the microwave.” Message received loud and clear! Unfortunately, I can’t promise my kitchen antics will be any less complicated, but this recipe definitely is.

I made this pasta dish for dinner last week. I was standing in the produce department and realized I needed to get something to make for dinner later in the week. A big snowstorm was coming and I didn’t want to have to go back out to the store. People get crazy when snow is coming. Note to self… avoid grocery store the day before a storm! Oy vey!

The cremini mushrooms looked particularly fresh, so I filled a bag and grabbed some other ingredients that I thought would work to make a pasta dish. I already had spinach in my cart and decided to grab some chicken breasts. I know there are many pasta recipes out there with chicken and spinach, but I threw this together on a whim (no recipe) and have to admit it was pretty awesome! It’s a fast one, good for a weeknight dinner. The whole family loved it.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1lb Rigatoni pasta
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into small cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 16oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 8oz white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • 7oz baby spinach
  • Lots of pecorino romano

1. Bring your water to a boil for your pasta.

2. Pour the olive oil into a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the cubed chicken. I use a 6qt sauté pan. Let the chicken brown and cook through. Don’t stir it too much so the chicken can brown nicely. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

3. Add another small drizzle of olive oil to the pan (if needed) and add your onions. Sauté the onions until they become translucent. Add the mushrooms and the garlic to the pan and continue to stir for about 8-10 minutes or until the mushrooms begin to release their juices. Add the chopped fresh herbs, Kosher salt and pepper to taste, red pepper flakes if using, the diced tomatoes and the wine. Stir to combine and turn the heat to low and let the sauce simmer while you cook your pasta.

4. Cook the pasta until it is just slightly undercooked, about a minute less than the time on the box. You will add it to the sauce and this will help it to not become overcooked. Drain your pasta and reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water.

5. Add the chicken back to the pot with the sauce and stir to combine.

6. Put the drained pasta right into the pan with the sauce and give it a big stir. Add the spinach to the pot next. You may need to add it in two batches, but it will wilt allowing more room. Use your reserved pasta water if needed to help the spinach wilt and combined with the sauce.

7. Sprinkle a generous amount of pecorino romano over the dish and stir. Serve with additional grated pecorino on the side.

Enjoy!

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