Sunday, February 21, 2016

Linguettine Carbonara e Pollo

     Linguettine Pasta Carbonara With Chicken!
     Chicken Carbonara has been a popular Italian style pasta in recent years at chain restaurants and privately owned restaurants that mimic hot selling chain restaurant food items.  Unfortunately, the quality of mass produced chain restaurant style Chicken Carbonara is pretty bad, because so many shortcuts are used.  For example, a famous Italian theme national restaurant chain makes all of their cream sauces with powdered freeze dried instant cream sauce mix.  That is enough to make any traditionalist gag.
     Some national chain restaurants may have Italian sounding names, but they are not really authentic Italian restaurants.  Many Italian American restaurant owners despise the national chain restaurants that have Italian themes, because the big corporate chains nearly always employ a campaign of monopolizing the local market with no respect for existing locally owned restaurants.
     Corporate chains pave their way with investment capital that ends up in local business regulator pockets.  Chain restaurants overwhelm the competition by opening multiple locations in an effort to flood a local market, they maintain high saturation advertising campaigns and they give away millions of dollars worth of coupons to undercut all existing prices.  Corporate monopolization tactics are nothing new and the end result causes small restaurant owners to close up shop, then the overall quality of food in the region plummets.
     Chicken Carbonara is a menu item that the big Italian look-alike chain restaurants offer.  A chain restaurant version of Chicken Carbonara really misses the mark as far as quality is concerned.  Versions of this pasta are much better at locally owned and operated restaurants.
     Chicken Carbonara is not a traditional Italian pasta, but it was a popular entrée at cafés, diners and casual restaurants in the 1980's and 1990's.  A few real Italian American restaurants offered Chicken Carbonara as a lunch special back in those days too, because it was a good selling trendy item.
     I sold plenty of Chicken Carbonara Pastas as a lunch special du jour in French cafés back in the 1980's.  Today's recipe is the same as what I prepared in a professional kitchen and the quality will please those who have been disappointed with the quality of Carbonara at chain restaurants.  This is a good selling pasta when the weather is cold, because Carbonara Sauce is so heavy.

     Linguettine Carbonara e Pollo:
This recipe yields 1 large portion. 
     • Linguettine is not always easy to find.  Fettuccine, Linguine or Spaghetti can be substituted. 
     • The best way to make Carbonara Sauce is to mince the basic ingredients together, till they are like a thick paste.  This is easy to do with a food processor or meat grinder.  Mincing the ingredients with a chef knife takes much more time and effort. 
     • Using high quality imported Italian Pancetta and Prosciutto really makes a difference in flavor. 
     • Only enough sauce should be made to coat the pasta with flavor.  The pasta should not be swimming in the sauce!
     Step 1:  Cook 1 large portion of linguettine pasta in a pot of boiling water over high heat till it is al dente.
     Cool the pasta under cold running water.
     Drain the water off of the pasta.
     Toss the pasta with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, so it does not stick together.
     Set the pasta aside.
     Step 2:  Place these ingredients in a food processor:
     - 3 ounces of coarse chopped Italian Pancetta
     - 2 ounces of coarse chopped Italian Prosciutto
     - 2/3 cup of coarse chopped onion
     - 3 garlic cloves
     Pulse the food processor till the ingredients are finely chopped and the mixture looks like thick paste.
     Place the minced ingredients in a container and set it aside.
     Step 3:  Heat a wide sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add the minced Pancetta, Prosciutto, garlic and onion mixture.
     Sauté and stir occasionally till the ingredients till a few golden highlights just start to appear.
     Step 4:  Add a 5 ounce chicken breast filet that is cut into small bite size pieces.
     Sauté till the pancetta is lightly browned and the chicken is almost fully cooked.
     Step 5:  Drain the excess grease out of the pan.  (Leave about a teaspoon of grease in the pan for flavor.)
     Step 6:  Return the pan to medium/medium low heat.
      Add 1 1/4 cups of chicken broth.
     Use a whisk to scrape and deglaze the brown bits that are stuck to the pan.
     Step 7:  Simmer and reduce the chicken broth, till only about 2/3 cup remains.
     Step 8:  Add 1 1/4 cups of cream.
     Bring the cream to a gentle boil.
     Add 1/4 cup of finely grated Parmigiana Cheese while stirring with a whisk.
     Stir till the cheese melts into the sauce.
     Step 9:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1 pinch of coarse ground black pepper.  (Taste and only add sea salt if necessary.)
     Simmer and reduce till the sauce is a thin consistency that can coat a spoon.
     Step 10:  Place 2 tablespoons of cream in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1 yolk from a large egg.
     Mix the cream and egg yolk together.
     Step 10:  Add the egg yolk and cream mixture to the sauce, while constantly stirring with a whisk.
     Step 11:  Immediately add the prepared linguettine pasta.
     Quickly toss the pasta and sauce together, till the pasta is reheated and the egg yolk tightens the sauce.
     Remove the pan from the heat.

     Step 1:  Use a long tine carving fork to coil the pasta and mound the pasta on a plate.
     Try to place a few pieces of the chicken on the surface so they can be seen.
     Spoon any extra sauce over the pasta.
     Step 2:  Sprinkle 2 to 3 teaspoons of finely grated Parmigiana Cheese over the pasta.
     Sprinkle 1/2 of a hard boiled egg that is finely grated over the pasta.
     Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of finely chopped Italian Parsley over the pasta.
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley Sprig.
     *Be sure to offer a coarse grind pepper mill at the table!

     Viola!  A great tasting Pasta Carbonara with Chicken! 

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