Friday, March 18, 2011

Chicken, Mushroom, and Spinach Pasta

I recently came across a wonderful recipe for mushroom, spinach, and chicken lasagna that really caught my eye. Lasagna can be a daunting task to prepare on a busy schedule, so I modified it to be much easier to make for a weeknight dinner. I love the way it turned out! The b├ęchamel sauce has a wonderful flavor and left Russell and I both wanting more. Luckily there was enough for us to have leftovers for lunch the next day, which we both enjoyed.

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound cooked chicken (shredded or cubed, your preference)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounce package of button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion chopped or 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups baby spinach, stems removed, sliced into 1/4 inch ribbons
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (more to taste)
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 8 ounces of Parmesan cheese grated, divided (approximately 2 cups)*
  • 1 lb box Rotini Pasta
*I have found that grating your own parmesan cheese yields a much better end result than using the packaged pre-grated parmesan cheese. I highly recommend grating your own.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Boil pasta according to box directions, until al dente.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat, add mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are slightly brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chopped onion and saute for approximately 3-4 minutes until they are translucent. Stir in garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.

Add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, about 1 minute. Whisking constantly, slowly add the milk. Occasionally stirring, cook for about 5 minutes until sauce is slightly thickened. Add the baby spinach.

Add salt, pepper, dash of nutmeg, and 1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese. While continuing to stir, cook for approximately 2 minutes until cheese has melted. Add the chicken. Taste sauce and season with more salt or pepper as needed. Add pasta and stir to combine.

Pour pasta into baking dish and top with remaining parmesan cheese. Bake for about 10 minutes or until cheese is nice and melted. Enjoy!