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Friday, June 17, 2016

Random Food Fridays - Fettuccine with Chicken and Sun Dried Tomatoes

This is one of those dishes that came together quickly on a weeknight, with handy ingredients, and turned out delicious. You can see that there is more to it than just fettuccine, chicken and sun dried tomatoes, but I didn't want one of those paragraph-long titles like one sees on restaurant menus. Most of these ingredients are pantry staples for me. If you don't keep a jar of sun dried tomatoes around - Do so immediately.

I have to share the story of how I cam by that giant jar of sun dried tomatoes. I've always bought them in the little octagonal jars, julienned and packed in olive oil. They can add a rich and tangy interest to many dishes. One day, my BFF, Miss Paula (sometimes called Powla, by me and no one else) was helping me take care of some chores around the house. One of the chores was cleaning the fridge. Sometimes we all need fresh eyes to help us reevaluate our malingering things. She saw my little jar of sun dried tomatoes and saw the solidified olive oil and thought they had gone bad. (I found out later that she also just doesn't like them in general.) She said things like, "You won't use those!" "How long have you had them?" "What are you going to use them in by the expiration date?" In a moment of weakness, I let her throw them out. Later we talked about it and I explained how much I liked them and that I would, in fact, use them. (Not to serve to her, of course!) She ended up feeling badly and ordering me another jar online. Imagine my surprise when this box was delivered to my doorstep...

with a 35 oz. jar of sun dried tomatoes! 

The good news is, that when you have a 35 oz. jar of sun dried tomatoes, your rationing days are over! Use them hard, use them long and don't hold back! It will be many months before I do not have a substantial amount of sun dried tomatoes available in my pantry!

Please consider that this entire dish was based on what I could forage around my house. You may have different, but just as tasty, findings in your home. Don't be afraid to make it your own!

Fettuccine with Chicken and Sun Dried Tomatoes
1 lb. boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
1 cup of your favorite vinaigrette*
8 oz. sliced mushrooms - I used crimini
1/2 cup julienne sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup sliced green onions
3 small zucchini, sliced
1/2 white wine
1 lb. fettucine
Parmesan cheese to serve

Cut up the chicken into bite sized pieces and place in a bowl along with the vinaigrette. Set aside.

Set a large pot of water with a good pinch of salt on the stove to bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water and allow to cook while you prepare everything else. Cook according the package instructions and drain.

Prepare all the vegetables as described above and set aside.

Heat a large skillet until very hot. Add the mushrooms to the dry pan. Allow them to brown and release their moisture. Once they look a bit dry and leathery add the sun dried tomatoes. Their flavorful oil will help you to pick up any of the good mushroom flavor that has stuck to the pan. Add the garlic, chicken (with vinaigrette) and green onions. Cook until the chicken shows no pink. Add the zucchini and wine and allow to simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the zucchini tender. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir the cooked and drained pasta into the pan and toss. Heat together for a few minutes to allow the pasta to absorb some of the liquid.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4, or us twice.

* My Favorite Vinaigrette 
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. course Dijon mustard

Place all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake like crazy.

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