Saturday, May 8, 2010

Basil and Pepper Chicken Alfredo

The recipe itself is a fettucini alfredo with basil and
cracked pepper chicken. You'll have to forgive the fact that I
don't have exact proportions on this so I'm just kind of
estimating; taste it as you go and decide how much you want to
put in.

For the alfredo sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
pinch nutmeg

For the chicken:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 package Fresh basil (usually ends up being several handful
of leaves)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp rosemary
1-2 tbsp black pepper
olive oil
garlic 2-3 cloves

Start by cleaning the basil and carefully cutting the tops
with the flowers off, you'll need to save two of these as
garnish for the dish (I think it's a little better than the
customary parsley sprig). Slice the rest of the basil into
strips; set aside a small handful of the sliced basil to go
into the alfredo sauce, the rest will be cooked with the
chicken. Mince the garlic cloves. Using a spoon or a mortar
and pestle coarsely crack the black pepper (can use a pepper
mill, but it'll take a long time to grind that much pepper and
most pepper mills will grind it too finely). If you have a
mortar and pestle grind the rosemary, if not just crack it up
by hand.

In a large deep skillet heat the olive oil at a little more
than medium heat, saute the garlic until it is beginning to
turn a light golden; add the chicken. As the chicken is
cooking add the basil and pepper slowly, allowing the the
basil added before to cook down some before adding the next.
Completely cook the chicken and remove from heat.

In a small pot melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium
low heat. Add cream and simmer for 5 minutes, then add garlic
and cheese and whisk quickly, heating through. The sauce will
look fairly thin at this point but will thicken as it cools.
Pour the sauce into the skillet with the chicken and add the
fresh basil, heat on low.

Cook the fettucini noodles according to instructions, strain
and add a small amount of olive oil to keep them from
sticking. Place fettucini on a plate and top with alfredo and
chicken, garnish with the basil flower.

To really make this impressive a few things should go with it;
make a good loaf of french bread and keep it warm (or buy and warm one), baked brie is an
excellent accompaniment to the french bread. A simple salad
with a light basil and rosemary vinaigrette is a nice starter,
and definitely get a bottle of wine for the meal (and
probably another for after). For the wine I would suggest a
flavorful red, but not one that is too dry (a merlot will
typically work well), and get a good bottle (spend more than
$15 a bottle unless you really know your wine, I would suggest
a merlot from benziger wineries, they tend to be less dry
wines with a good flavor, run about $18 a bottle, though it's
a hard winery to find).

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