Pasta with Chicken, Asparagus, Peas and Mushrooms in Cream Sauce

When available use morels with this recipe. 

This recipe is the result – as many of mine are – of throwing together just-purchased market ingredients with whatever else I have in the fridge. The amounts are all very flexible as are the specific ingredients.  Learning how to cook up a variety of ingredients with efficiency and dispatch is the real secret to executing and enjoying creativity in the kitchen.

1 large free-range chicken breast – about 7-8oz or two small

½ large sweet onion or ¼ cup spring onions, thinly sliced

½ large bulb of fennel, thinly sliced

1 pint sugar snap peas, English peas or pea shoots

½ – ¾ lbs asparagus, sliced into 1-inch pieces

½ lb mushrooms, any variety, sliced or cut into quarters

¼ – ½ lb fresh or flash-frozen pasta 

Bring to boil a pot of salted water and blanch the peas for three minutes; remove with a slotted spoon and then blanch the asparagus in the same water for 3 minutes. Hold the water at a simmer until ready to cook pasta. About 5 minutes before the dish is completed, return the heat to high and cook the pasta according to package directions.   

While blanching the vegetables, sauté the lightly salted chicken breast over medium heat in 2T each butter and good olive oil in a large sauté pan; remove when barely cooked through and add the onion and fennel to the pan. Sauté for 3-5 minutes and then add mushrooms and sauté till lightly browned. Deglaze the pan with some white wine; add ½ cup chicken stock and cook over medium-high heat till reduced by half, then add ¾ -1 cup good heavy cream and cook till thickened, 2-3 minutes. 

Add vegetables and sliced or diced chicken breast to the mixture and season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. When fresh herbs are available, you can add a chopped mixture of your choice. And don’t forget a little Parmesan on top!   Serves 2 – but can easily be doubled.