Pasta and Chicken in White Wine and a Cheese Sauce

Pasta with chicken and cheese sauce.

I made pasta for dinner last night. I was sort of improvising, so there are a few things I would have done differently, in retrospect, but it still turned out tasting pretty good.

I began by preparing some chicken thighs in a sauce pan with some white wine. When the chicken was done, I added chopped up tomato and lots of grated cheddar cheese, to combine with the wine and thicken into a cheese sauce. I seasoned it with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning, and served it all over spaghetti noodles.

What I should have done is taken the chicken out when it was done, and chopped it up, then prepped the sauce over low heat and reintroduced the chicken for a couple of minutes when the sauce was ready.

My friend Andrew Metcalfe suggested I make a roux next time. That would probably work a lot better, too. I’m thinking if I prepped a roux, then added it to the remaining white wine after the chicken was out, and added the cheese after all of that had been combined, it would have made a better sauce, and I could control the amount of sauce a lot better, too.

Also, I’m not sure Italian seasoning was the best choice. I’m a total newbie with spices and seasonings. Someone needs to give me a course or something.

3 thoughts on “Pasta and Chicken in White Wine and a Cheese Sauce”

  1. What you can try next time; season the raw thighs with a pinch of salt and pepper on both sides, as well as other seasonings (I actually don’t have a real problem with ‘italian seasoning’. It’s a fair mix. You just don’t control exactly what goes into it. But I digress).

    Cook the thighs in a hot, non-stick pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Turn only once. (If the thighs are not done because they’re too big, you can always finish them in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes. In this case do them 2 minutes a side in the pan). Remove them and set them aside to rest (resting meat before cutting or serving retains moisture and juiciness. You can cover them with tin foil).

    Add drained tomatoes and sear for a few minutes in the hot pan to caramelize nicely. Add a half cup or a cup (depending on how much sauce you want) of white wine to the still-hot pan and use a wooden spoon to bring up all the delightful brown bits. Bring the wine to a simmer and allow the alcohol to evaporate. Add water or chicken stock, or for a creamy sauce use milk (even skim is fine). Bring this to a simmer, but don’t boil. Add your roux (you can make it in the microwave), about 1-2 Tbsp total for each cup liquid. Mix in to the sauce thoroughly and allow the sauce to thicken to the desired thickness over low heat.

    When sauce is at desired thickness, add chopped chicken, remove from the heat, and add your cheese. (If you add the cheese on the heat it becomes stringy) Mix well.

    Toss with cooked pasta and serve. Alternatively, you can serve the cooked, whole thighs on top of the pasta.

    If you’re going all out, garnish with a sprinkle of chiffonade fresh basil and a fresh sprig of basil.

  2. Or we could have a cooking party sometime!

    Thanks for the advice, Andrew. That sounds like exactly what I wanted to do, but in an order that makes way more sense. I guess that kind of thing comes from experience (and I obviously don’t have a lot of that).

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