Sunday Supper: Orecchiette with Chicken, Caramelized Onions, and Blue Cheese

For this installment of Sunday Supper the recipe once again came from our Food and Wine Cookbook and was called Orecchiette with Chicken, Caramelized Onions, and Blue Cheese.   We choose this particular recipe because we both were in the mood for pasta, and the combination of chicken and blue cheese really grabbed our interest.

Ingredients we used:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, quartered and cut into thin slices
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 3 ounces crumbled blue cheese (1/2 cup)

1. In a large nonstick frying pan, melt the butter with 2 tablespoons of oil over moderately high heat. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring frequently, until well browned, about 25 minutes. Remove.

2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and reduce the heat to moderate. Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper and add to the pan along with the rosemary. Cook the chicken until brown, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook until almost done, about 3 minutes longer. Add the garlic. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Cover the pan, remove from the heat, and let steam for 5 minutes. Cut the chicken into 1/4-inch slices.

3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the orecchiette until just done, about 15 minutes. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and toss with 2 tablespoons of the pasta water, the onions, the chicken with pan juices, the blue cheese, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. If the pasta seems dry, add more of the reserved pasta water.

Just the smell of the caramelizing onions is reason enough to make this dish.  That being said, the taste did not disappoint.  The sweetness from the caramelized onions was a perfect balance for the saltiness of the blue cheese. The amount the recipe called for really did strike a perfect 50/50 balance.   This balance of salty vs. sweet also really helped the rosemary to remain noticeable, but not overpowering.   Finally, the chicken picked up just enough of the garlic and rosemary flavor to also add more depth to the dish.   This is another dish from our Food and Wine cookbook that we will be cooking again, just next time for friends and family because it was so good!  Cheers!

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