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Rigatoni T

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Source: Me
Yield:
Serving Size:
Servings: 8

One of my favorite pasta is Rigatoni D at Maggiano's Little Italy. One day, I decided to experiment and try to duplicate it based solely on the my memory and the description on their website, "rigatoni pasta, herb roasted boneless chicken, mushrooms and onions, tossed in a light Marsala cream sauce."

Surprisingly, it came out just like I wanted after the first try. I'm not even sure what I would do to improve it, so here it is.
   
Ingredients

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Ingredients

Serves 8 Cals Fat (g)
Basil Chicken
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (about 1 lb) 519 5.9
4 Cloves Garlic 18 0.1
1/2 Bunch Fresh Basil 1 0.0
1 Tsp Dried Oregano 4 0.0
1/4 Tsp Salt 0 0.0
1/4 Tsp Pepper 2 0.0
1/4 Cup Dry Marsala Wine 95 0.0
Vegetables
1 Small Onion 29 0.1
8 Oz Baby Portabella (aka Crimini) Mushrooms 50 0.8
4 Cloves Garlic 18 0.1
1/2 Bunch Fresh Basil 1 0.0
1/4 Tsp Salt 0 0.0
1/4 Tsp Pepper 2 0.0
1/4 Cup Dry Marsala Wine 95 0.0
2 Tsp Olive Oil 80 9.0
Sauce
2 Cups Half & Half 629 55.7
1 Cup Marsala Wine 380 0.0
1/2 Tsp Salt 0 0.0
1/2 Tsp Pepper 3 0.1
Pasta
1 Pound Rigatoni 1621 8.1

Total 3547 79.9
Per Serving 443 10.0
 
Instructions

    click for a larger image
An important component of this pasta is the Marsala wine. You will want a dry Marsala for cooking. I've tried two so far. The first one was pretty good, but I don't remember what kind it was.

The second one by Lombardo, shown here, I do NOT recommend. It was the cheapest one at the store and I knew things were going to be off when I realized it had a screw top instead of a cork. This wine was darker than normal and I felt it wasn't as tasty as the first one. It was less fruity and less sweet (even though it's dry) and I felt that it was more acidic, which caused excess curdling with the cream sauce. A little curdling is normal but I this caused quite a bit of it.
 

First we'll prepare the chicken.

For the marinade, mix the salt, pepper, oregano together in a large bowl.
 

Next mince the basil. To make this a little easier, I start with a chiffonade: stack the basil leaves then roll them up and cut them into small strips.
 

Once you've cut the basil into strips, it will be much easier to mince it.

Add this to the marinade bowl.
 

Also mince the garlic and add it to the marinade bowl.
 

Then add the marsala wine to the marinade and mix to wet everything.  

Slice the chicken into thin strips about 2" long. This will be easier if the chicken is partially frozen.  

Add the chicken to the marinade and mix so that the chicken is all coated.

Place in the refrigerator to marinate while you prepare the other components. Alternately, you can prepare this the previous day.
 

Chop the onions into strips, perhaps 1/2" x 1".

Also chop the mushrooms into quarters.

Braise the onions with 1 tsp oil over medium-high heat until it starts to brown.
 

Add half the garlic, basil, salt and pepper.  

Here's a fun picture of me flipping the onions in the pan.  

When the onions are nicely browned, you should also see some dark brown forming on the bottom of the pan. This is caramelized sugars from the onions and it's good stuff that we will use in the next step, so don't worry about it as long as it doesn't start smoking and burning.

Pour the onions into another large bowl and set aside.
 

Braise the mushrooms with another tsp of oil, but this time, also add the marsala wine to help deglaze the pan.  

When the mushrooms start to brown, add the rest of the garlic, basil, salt and pepper.

Mix and then pour the mushrooms and wine into the same bowl as the onions. Set aside.
 

Get the chicken from the refrigerator and start braising that as well, flipping the chicken periodically to make sure it is fully cooked.

Meanwhile, get a large pot and start to boil water for the pasta.
 

When the chicken is done, use a slotted spoon or flipper to remove the chicken while leaving the juices in the pan. Put the drained chicken with the onions and mushrooms and set aside.  

Add the rest of the marsala wine to the chicken juices and cook until it has reduced to about 1/4 the original volume.

While the sauce is reducing, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package until it is al dente.

The sauce should start to thicken when it's about done. You should be able to scrape the bottom of the pan with your flipper or spatula and it will take a a few seconds for the sauce to fill back in.
 

Slowly add the half-and-half into the reduced sauce, stiring constantly until fully incorporated.  

As soon as the sauce begins to simmer, turn off the heat and pour the sauce over the onions, mushrooms and chicken, mixing to distribute all the ingredients.  

When the pasta is done, drain and rinse to stop the cooking.  

Toss the pasta together with the chicken, vegetables and sauce.  

Garnish with minced basil and serve.  



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