30-Minute Chicken Pasta with White Wine Bechamel Sauce

Approximate reading time:2 minutes

I’m a teensy bit behind in the food blogging department (how do people DO it?! And I only post one or two pictures each time!) but I wanted to share this winner-winner-chicken-dinner first because it got such high praise from Science Guy AND it took only half an hour to get dinner on the table. This was sort of an ad-hoc, kitchen-sink style recipe, so bear with the loosey-gooseyness. It’s way too early for me to play Mark Bittman and walk step-by-step through this.

  1. Set salted water for pasta to boil.
  2. Shred some rotisserie chicken, about 2 cups. You can be an overachiever and saute some diced fresh chicken breast (balsamic-marinated would be nice), but no one will like you.
  3. Dice some garlic and toss in a hot pan with some butter or oil. Throw in half a 12-oz. bag of spinach (could use more) and saute quickly until just wilted. If using cold chicken, add to pan in the last minute of cooking to warm up. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Add ~1lb. of pasta to boiling water. I had half a box of whole grain penne and half a box of veggie rotini left, so in they went. Cook until al dente and drain.
  5. Make the bechamel sauce. I’ve been playing with variations of this for the last week and have now mastered cooking with a bad French accent. Melt 2T. of butter in a pan over medium heat. Add a diced garlic glove. Breathe in the alliumic glory. Add 2T. flour gradually and whisk to incorporate. This is the roux. (Must say with aforementioned bad French accent.) Cook until flour turns tan (or brown, depending on your sauce) then gradually add 1.5-2 cups of liquid, stirring to blend. I started off with about 3/4 cup of chicken stock and then I thought, No, wait. WINE. So I topped it off with about 1/2 cup of junky white wine I keep around for cooking. Cook until reduced to the consistency you want – mine was fluid but thickened…think Elmer’s glue, which is a horrible metaphor, but there you go. Season with salt and pepper…I used a dash of Emeril’s magic stuff.
  6. Add pasta, spinach, and chicken to saucepan. Stir to coat and serve.

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