Chris' Recipes

Bon Appetite!

Angle Hair Chicken Hot Dish

Written By: Chris - Jan• 13•16

What people in most other parts of the country call casserole, Minnesotans call “Hotdish” and according to Wikipedia, is a variety of a casserole that typically contains a starch, a meat or other protein, a canned or frozen vegetable, and mixed with canned soup.  It’s history goes back to when budget-minded farm wives needed to feed their own families, using up whatever is on hand in their fridge and pantry.  Hey, that’s my philosophy! 

Hot dishes are filling, convenient, and easy to make but they don’t have to be filled with canned soup and frozen stuff.  I prefer to choose fresh and healthy ingredients to make my version of hot dish while still representing down-home cooking.  I don’t often blog them, but this is an example of what you can prepare quickly and deliciously, even if you do swap a couple of ingredients that you have.  I think since hot dish is served hot in a single baking dish, it should represent a lack of pretense and scream comfort food, which is all of the things that speak Minnesota.  I prefer super thin pasta, which takes almost no time to cook al dente.  Capellini, literally “little hairs” is a very thin variety of Italian pasta. Like spaghetti, it is rod-shaped, in the form of long strands.  Capelli d’angelo “angel hair pasta” in English is an even thinner variant of capellini but you could literally use any kind of noodle you like.

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Ingredients: 

1/2 Onion, sliced thin
1/2 Cup Mushrooms, sliced (optional) 
2 Celery Stocks, sliced thin
2 Cups Chicken, cooked and chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, pressed
Olive Oil, divided
Salt & Pepper, to taste
2 Cups Chicken Stock, I use homemade
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
2/3 Cup Roasted Bell peppers, sliced
3 Cups Spinach, fresh
6 oz. Angle Hair Pasta, cooked al denta
4 oz. Burrata or Mozzarella Cheese
1 Cup Red Pasta Sauce
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese, divided
1/3 Cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1/3 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
Basil, fresh

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Start by chopping your veggies.  I prefer the celery on a mandoline, so they are sliver thin rather than crunch in this dish.

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I like to keep these red peppers on hand.  I do like the char of roasting peppers on a gas stove, but when I’m short on time (or out of fresh peppers) the jarred version can come in awfully handy.  If you can’t find the TASSOS brand, try different brands because versions are preserved in an acidic brine, so the flavor is different from a homemade roasted pepper.  You will lose a little bit of the char and the peppers sometimes take on some tang and can be super smoky, while others are almost pickled. 

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Saute the onions that have been seasoned with salt and pepper in a bit of olive oil until they are translucent and caramelized.  Add the garlic and cook an additional minute or two before adding the peppers to combine.  Set aside.  Cook the mushrooms in the same pan and set aside.

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Cook the chicken, seasoned with salt and pepper and olive oil in the same pan over medium heat.  Chop and set aside.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta.  To avoid mushy baked pasta, seriously undercook the pasta in its boiling phase because the pasta’s going into a hot sauce in a hot oven, it’ll continue to cook long after it’s been drained.  You’re looking for a semi-raw texture—even firmer than al dente pasta.  Drain without rinsing.

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Combine the cooked onions and pepper with the chicken and add the fresh spinach and pasta.  Toss with half of the parmesan cheese.

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Next, make a roux by cooking the butter in the pan drippings until melted and hot.  Stir in the flour until no lumps remain and the mixture is smooth and cook until a light brown color is reached.  Stir in the chicken stock while whisking to create a gravy.  Once thickened, stir in the cream and season to taste with salt & pepper.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

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Pour the pasta mixture into a dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and place the large chunks of cut burrata cheese sporadically over the top.  (I placed mushrooms on only half of the dish)

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Pour the gravy evenly over the entire dish and then dollop the red sauce around the cheese pieces.  Top with the bread crumbs mixed with the rest of the parmesan cheese and julienned basil.

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Bake the pasta dish for about 15 to 20 minutes uncovered.  It usually won’t acquire that golden, bubbling crust in the regular oven, so once it’s hot through, place it under the broiler and watch it closely for a couple of minutes to achieve that deep brown layer on top. Broiling the casserole will inevitably result in a few crunchy, crispy noodles toward the top, which adds great texture!

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Allowing the dish to hang out for five to 10 minutes after cooking will give the sauce a chance to settle into the pasta.

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Bill paired our dinner with an awesome Cabernet Sauvignon from Pine Ridge.

Enjoy!
Cheers!
~Chris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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