Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tribute to the 13 Colonies Part VI - Roasted Chicken Marsala Orecchiette

Times Square in 2007
Photo taken by Dan LaBrie (used with permission)

Since we just left New Jersey, it makes sense that we will head across the Hudson to one of the culinary capitals of the world, New York City.

This summer series also includes a little history about each colony or region.   New York was originally called New Amsterdam.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Amsterdam . Settled by the Dutch in the 17th century, it was later renamed New York when the British claimed it as a colony.

New York City is as diverse as a city as any; both culturally and from a foodie standpoint.  The amazing Chelsea market is there along with restaurants owned by dozens of acclaimed chefs.  Food trucks and street carts also produce delicious delights.

Don't count out the rest of the state.  From the Adirondacks to Niagara Falls, New York also has many regional recipes noted from north, south, east and the west parts of the state.  At one point, I might actually write a series on New York food.

But we are going to stay in the city tonight with this interesting, affordable cock pot meets pasta dish.  It reminds me of something you would find in Little Italy.  That is a section of the city known for great Italian culture and food. 

When you think of Little Italy and NYC in general, New York Style Pizza probably comes to mind.   Do a Google search on Chicken Marsala and you will get 154 returns on NY restaurants claiming to serve the best.  

I am using a store-bought braising product in this dish.  This is not a paid endorsement.  I did not receive any product. 

Truth is that it was on sale as a promotional item in my supermarket (buy one, get one free deal).  I estimated the cost of buying this product or buying the Marsala wine and other things I would need to make this sauce.  I found this sauce to be a better deal.  I actually got two meals out of one jar.    It's flavorful and I like the fact that other than the one preservative needed for the shelf, I can pronounce all of the ingredients on the label. 

Here we go with this simple Little Italy-style recipe:


1 whole free range chicken, washed and giblets removed (3 1/2 - 4 pounds)
Pepper, to taste
Garlic Salt with parsley, to taste
1/2 jar Gia Russa Marsala Simmer Sauce (about one cup)
2 or 3 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 pound sliced white mushrooms
1/2 lb. Orecchiette pasta, cooked by package directions
1 tablespoon olive oil
Grated Parmesean cheese
Fresh torn basil or lemon basil (optional but recommended)

Other:   Butter flavored cooking spray


Spray the inside of the crock of your slow cooker with the cooking spray.

Season chicken on both sides with pepper and the garlic salt.

Place chicken, breast side up into the slow cooker.  Cover and cook over low heat for six hours.

Using a turkey baster, carefully remove most of the juices which came off during the cooking process.  I removed about one cup of juice.  (Save this for another day for making gravy).

Add the braising sauce over the top of the chicken only to create the glaze.  Add the thyme sprigs.  Cook for another 2 1/2 hours over low heat.

Add the sliced mushrooms during the last 30 - 45 minutes of cooking time.

Remove chicken from crock pot.  Let chicken cool. It should fall right off the bone.  Debone chicken and keep it warm until you are ready to serve.  You can moisten the chicken with a little of your reserved chicken juice if you like.

Cook orecchiette pasta per package directions.  Drain  and toss with the olive oil in a bowl.

Add the marsala and mushroom sauce from the slow cooker to a skillet.  Simmer over low to thicken.  Season with more salt and pepper as needed.  You can also add a little bit of the reserved chicken juice if desired.

Toss desired amount of chicken with the orichette pasta and the warm mushroom sauce.  Add in cheese, toss and plate immediately. 

Top with fresh torn basil.

If you enjoy orecchiette, you might want to check out my other post tomorrow night on Cafe' Cheapo! http://cafecheapo.blogspot.com

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