In my previous post, I mentioned that I was sent a couple of products from Barilla Australia. One of the pasta from Barilla La Collezione range is Orecchiette Pugliesi. The word Pugliesi is derived from the origin of this pasta which is region of Puglia, a humble farming land situated along the southeastern coast of Italy. Orecchiette is shaped like a round disc and slightly hollow in the middle. To me, it looks like a spoon – except you have no holder! From what I gathered, the classic recipe for orecchiette is Orechiette con Cime Di Rapa, or simply Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe. Unfortunately, not knowing where to find Broccoli Rabe in this region, I decided to ditch attempt of recreating the classic dish with this unique vegetable, not wanting to spoil its authenticity. And while the shape did remind me of spoon, I think the best way is to cook something saucy so I can use this little pasta to scoop all the sauce I want!
In this recipe, I have made Orecchiette with creamy Chicken Stroganoff. Instead of beef I decided to use Chicken, as a twist to my old Beef Stroganoff served with Fettuccine recipe. My other half said this was better, and he absolutely adored the shape of the pasta and how the sauce will never escape again, just like me.
- 250g of Barilla Orecchiette
- 175 g Mushrooms, sliced
- 400g Chicken breasts, cut into cubes
- 1/2 brown onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely diced
- 3 teaspoon (or more) ground Paprika
- 1/2 cup Bulla Crème fraîche
- 1/2 cup Bulla Cooking Light Cream
- 2 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 generous tablespoon Butter
- 1 generous teaspoon Dijon mustard paste (has Chardonnay white wine and mustard seeds content)
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh Dill
- 2 teaspoon Tomato Paste/Puree
- 1/2 teaspoon Chicken Bouillon
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- A handful of fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped (for garnishing)
- Marinade the chicken with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of paprika. Set aside for 15 minutes.
- Place a large saucepan of water on to boil.
- Place a frying pan on the stove and add the butter. Add the chicken and browned the meat on all sides, for approximately 5 to 8 minutes . Set aside.
- Meanwhile, add the orecchiette pasta to the boiling water and add a pinch of salt. Let it boil until al-dente, which should be approximately 12 minutes as per cooking instructions. When done, drain the pasta through a colander and set aside, keeping it warm.
- Add the onion and garlic to the pan and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, let it cook until the onions start to caramelized. Add the sliced mushrooms and remaining olive oil. Stir fry for 3 minutes or till mushrooms start to soften. Transfer the ingredients to a casserole dish and place it over medium heat.
- Add the chicken into the casserole dish and stir to combine well. Add the tomato paste, both creme fraiche and light cream, mustard and chopped dill. Stir to combine well. Add the remaining paprika and place the casserole dish lid. Let the sauce cook for 5 to 10 minutes till it start bubbling and thicken.
- Adjust the taste by adding chicken bouillon and salt and pepper. If you like the sauce to be more red in hue, add more ground paprika. Turn off the heat and let the sauce sit for couple of minutes before dishing it with the pasta. This will help to build up the flavour without overpowering heat from the stove.
- Serve the pasta hot with chopped fresh parsley, and crack of peppercorns if you wish.
Great Cooking Tips from Barilla
- Make sure there’s always enough water to boil the pasta. The ratio of 100 grams of pasta to one liter of water is ideal.
- There is no need to use oil when boiling the pasta. Barilla range of pasta is of good quality so it doesn’t stick and not clumpy when cooked.
- Season well! Adding salt to the boiling water helps to enhance the flavour of the pasta when dished up. Recommended ratio is 7 grams of salt per liter of water.
- When draining the pasta, there is no need to rinse the boiled pasta under cold water – which will remove the light starch coating that helps to hold the sauce. Instead, right after draining the pasta from pot, add it to pan (of sauce) just before it is al-dente helps to soak up the sauce in the pan.
- Where’s the sauce? Make sure there is always enough sauce to go with the amount of pasta.
My Additional Cooking Tips
- Olive oil does wonder to the end result. I always make sure I drizzle a little of olive oil to my pasta. Not only it gives that extra depth of flavour but it adds that extra glaze which enhance the look of the dish (thus the photos!).
- Plan ahead on what type of sauce you want to make and if they can be made ahead (i.e. bolognese) or must be cooked in a pan with the boiled paste (i.e. carbonara). Having said that, if the sauce can be made ahead, cook the pasta only when you decide to have the dish, otherwise you will need to refer to the instructions of the pasta to work out how much time it requires to cook the pasta, then work backwards to how much time you require to make the sauce, so both of them can be incorporated in the pan together at the end of the cooking process.
- Balance of flavour is really important, especially for one plate meal like pasta. Ever had that creamy pasta so much that it start to feel sick and overloaded to your taste buds? Balance it out with sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley, mint, or lemon zest. What about too much acidity in tomato sauce? Try carrots or caramelize the onions really well before incorporating the passata, or try adding flavourful herbs like basil or oregano.