Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chicken Fettuccine Casserole

I picked up another new cookbook at work and, it being from a Hawaiian restaurant, Dan was eager to find a recipe in it to try. The cookbook is called Family Style Meals at the Hali'imaile General Store. Although the restaurant in in Maui, it's celebrity chef owner, Beverly Gannon, actually grew up in Dallas, Texas - giving her restaurant, and this cookbook, an interesting fusion of Mainland comfort foods with Hawaiian flair. There's a 'new wave tuna-noodle casserole' that uses panko, wasabi peas, edamame and seared fresh ahi; a mac & cheese recipe; and even fried chicken. The book has some more decidedly Hawaiian recipes as well, which I'm guessing we'll be trying someday soon. But for our first dish from the book, we went with Chicken Fettuccine Casserole.

The recipe calls for a couple pre-cooked ingredients, which we improvised. The large cooked chicken, shredded was replaced with 1 lb of chicken breasts, pan seared until just cooked through, then shredded. For the 1 cup of cooked spinach, we used half a bag of frozen spinach and cooked it over medium heat, which yielded a cup. We also replaced the Monterrey Jack and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses with Olde Apple Tree Tome and Subblime cheeses from Estrella Family Creamery, and replaced the Shiitake mushrooms with some locally foraged Yellow Foot Chanterelle Mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles.

We both really enjoyed the end product. There's a lot of flavors that don't get muddy, even in the casserole format. Briney olives, crunchy waterchestnuts, fragrant cheeses and tarragon all stand out. The recipe makes six generous servings, giving us two days of lunches to enjoy soon, too.

Chicken Fettuccine Casserole
12 oz egg fettuccine
1/4 cup, plus 4 tspn butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
Salt & Pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 cup mik
1 cup chicken stock
2 tspn salt
1 1/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup sherry
1 large chicken, cooked, boned, and shredded
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/3 cup sliced and halved water chestnuts
1 cup cooked spinach leaves (about 1 lb fresh)
1 Tbspn dried tarragon
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 3 quart ovenproof casserole dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook about 8 to 10 minutes, or until just al dente. Drain and place the fettuccine in a large bowl. In a small saute pan, melt 1 tspn of butter over medium-high heat Add the onion and cook until transluscent. Remove from the pan and set aside. In the same saute pan, melt 3 tspn of the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. To make the sauce, place a saucepan over medium-high heat and melt the remaining 1/4 cup butter. When the butter has melted, whisk in the flour and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the milk and chicken stock, whisking continuously. Place the pan back on the heat and continue to cook until the sauce has thickened. Stir in 2 tspn of salt, the sour cream, and sherry, blending well. Remove from the heat. Add one cup of the sauce to the fettuccine and toss together. Add the onion, mushrooms, chicken, olives, water chestnuts, spinach, and tarragon, and mix together. Add the remaining sauce, and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to the casserole and top with the grated cheeses. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until bubbly and browned on top.

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