Wow, my 250th post already! To celebrate, here is a recipe for an awesome dish of comfort food: Fettuccine, chicken and fresh spinach covered with a glossy, creamy, and (very) garlicky alfredo sauce.
Fettuccine Alfredo is by far the favourite pasta dish of our kids and as it is quick and dead easy I find myself making it quite often. Mostly with broccoli to include at least a healthy element to the dish.
Based on the fresh recollections of the taste of various pasta alfredo’s that were devoured during our summer holidays in New England and a great recipe by Amy Johnson of She Wears Many Hats, this version with spinach was declared by the kids – in unison – as “best alfredo evah”!
The few changes to Amy’s recipe are that I used pan fried chicken breasts instead of bacon and I upped the amount of garlic and spinach (which I sautéed first with a chopped onion by the way). As per usual I made a batch of fresh fettuccine with my Philips Avance pasta maker instead of using dried pasta.
- Fettuccine (about 400g / 14oz. fresh or 450g / 1 pound uncooked)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 400g / 14oz baby spinach
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper
- 3 tbsp butter
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 250ml / 1 cup cream
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 150g / 1½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- If using dried pasta, prepare pasta al dente according to package instructions. Reserve 60ml / ¼ cup of pasta water before draining and return to the pan.
- Add the olive oil to a large sauté pan fry the onion over medium heat until softened, about 6 minutes. Then add the spinach (in 2 batches) until fully wilted and transfer the spinach to a colander to drain.
- Wipe down the sauté pan and melt 1 tbsp butter over medium high heat to fry the chicken breasts until just cooked through. Transfer to a chopping board.
- Then turn down the heat to medium and add the remaining butter. When melted, add the minced garlic directly into butter and let them combine for about 2 minutes.
- Dice the chicken (when sufficiently cooled down to handle).
- If using fresh pasta, this is about the time to cook it at dente (usually about 3-4 minutes). Also in this case reserve 60ml / ¼ cup of pasta water before draining and return to the pan.
- In the meantime add the cream, salt and pepper to the garlicky butter and let it simmer for about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the reserved pasta water and continue to simmer for an additional 2 minutes before adding the grated parmesan cheese. Continue to stir frequently for about 2 minutes as you will see the sauce thicken a bit.
- Add in the sautéed spinach, diced chicken and drained pasta and stir until coated and warmed through (and until the alfredo sauce reaches the desired consistency; we like it rather thick and almost gloopy).