Orecchiette (Little Ears) Pasta with Braised Chicken

Orecchiette (Little Ears) Pasta with Braised Chicken
Recipe type: Pasta
Serves: 6
  • 6 large chicken thighs (3 pounds); skin, bone removed
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms; cleaned, stemmed, sliced thick
  • 1 Cup sliced yellow onion
  • 3 Tablespoons slivered garlic
  • 1/2 Cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 Cup thinly-sliced celery
  • 2 Cups hearty red wine
  • 2 Cups diced, seeded ripe tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 4 Cups chicken stock
  • Balsamic vinegar; optional
  • 1/3 Cup finely-chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 pound orecchiette or other shaped dry pasta
  • 1/4 Cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 Cup drained sundried tomatoes in oil; finely chopped
  • fresh basil sprigs; for garnish
  • freshly-shaved Asiago or Parmesan cheese; for garnish
  1. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons oil and quickly brown chicken over high heat.
  3. Remove and set aside. Add mushrooms, onion, garlic, carrots, and celery and saute until very lightly browned.
  4. Return chicken to pan and add wine, tomatoes, thyme, sage, and the stock and bring to a simmer.
  5. Cover and simmer until chicken is tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
  6. Remove chicken and cut meat into bite-sized slices and set aside. Strain braising liquid reserving vegetables and return liquid to pot.
  7. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat for 8 to 10 minutes to reduce and thicken lightly. This also concentrates the flavors.
  8. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and drops of balsamic vinegar if using. Add reserved meat and vegetables and heat through.
  9. Stir in parsley and keep warm. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt to taste and pasta. Cook pasta until just tender, drain and toss with chopped basil and sundried tomatoes. Place pasta in center of warm, large flat pasta bowls and ladle braised chicken sauce around. Garnish with basil springs and shaved cheese and serve immediately.
  10. This recipe yields 6 servings.
  11. Recipe Source: JOHN ASH

Recommended wine: Fetzer Barrel Select Zinfandel, Cabernet or Merlot.

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