“in the abstract art of cooking,
ingredients trump appliances,
passion supersedes expertise,
creativity triumphs over technique,
spontaneity inspires invention,
and wine makes even the worst culinary disaster taste delicious.”
― Bob Blumer
I was feeling motivated today. I wanted to cook up something good. I was up early and made my way to the grocery store and LCBO to pick up some ingredients for me to make a pasta sauce. I went with my gut and came up with this recipe. By far the tastiest sauce I have ever made.
1/2 cup onion chopped
4 garlic cloves minced
1 cube of vegetable bouillon
4 chicken breasts
1 can of crushed tomatoes or 2 cups of fresh Roma tomatoes crushed
1 can of tomato paste
1 cup cream
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (more or less if you want)
1 cup of mushrooms
1 bunch of loose leaf spinach (asparagus, kale or rapini would work too)
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Italian herbs and spices (to taste)
Brown Sugar (optional to taste)
In a large sauce pot, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, when hot, add the chicken breasts (don’t crowd) and brown each side for about 10 minutes each. Season with salt and pepper. This seals in the juices and allows for a more tender and moist chicken in the end. Once the chicken is browned, remove from the pot and set aside. Drain any fat from the pot but keep any brown bits from the bottom of pot.
Saute the onion and garlic. Add about 1/2 cup of water and begin loosening up the brown bits of chicken from the bottom of the pot. Tons of flavour here. At the same time, dissolve the cube of vegetable bouillon. Keep on medium heat.
Add back the chicken now, meaty side down so it begins to absorb the flavourful liquid on the bottom of the pot. Leave for about 5 minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes
Add the tomato paste and give it a stir. Add your Italian herbs/seasonings/salt/pepper to taste. If you like your sauce a little sweeter like I do, add some brown sugar. Leave for about 5 minutes.
Add 1 cup of cream, stir.
Add 1/2 cup of red wine and stir again. I used a Primitivo aka Zinfandel but you can use a Sangiovese, Chianti or Pinot Noir as well. Leave for 5 minutes.
Add the mushrooms. Leave for 5 minutes.
Add the spinach. Turn heat to simmer and let spinach wilt. Don’t forget to add the Parmesan cheese.
At this point prepare your pasta. You can also use rice or just serve with some fresh, crusty bread. For my meal I went with fresh spinach and cheese ravioli.
I could not stop taste testing this sauce. I’ve made pasta sauce in the past but for some reason this one was just packed with flavour. The sweet from the onions and brown sugar. The tang from the wine and the tomatoes. The cream adds a smoothness. The chicken was moist and felt like it was melting in my mouth. This sauce smelled divine. Paired with a glass of wine from the bottle I cooked with and a slice of bread to sop up the sauce, this made for an impressive dinner. =)