Friday, February 1, 2013

Dinner With Mom

Mom is staying with us for a few days while Dad is out-of-town.  We decided to make a special dish for her. She is kind of a picky eater, so we were taking our chances.  Anyway, we have a recipe for fettuccine alfredo with chicken that we enjoy, and to make it really pretty and special, we made spinach noodles.  We made some kalamata olive and rosemary bread, and some asparagus on the side.  We haven't heard too many comments wanting the actual recipes for our dishes, but we will give this one because it was fun to make, although there are quite a few steps.  So, get a cup of something and sit back and read on.  In the future, you will have to let us know if you want the recipes or just enjoy the pics.

Pickles could not keep from smiling; she was so happy to be in the kitchen waiting for a tiddy-bit.

For the noodle dough, first you have to steam the baby spinach (I will post the recipe amounts at the end), drain, then shock with cold water to stop the cooking.  Next, drain again and squeeze out the water and form into a ball.  Cut it one direction, turn, cut the other direction, and then chop well.  Put into a food processor with two fresh room-temperature eggs and process till fine and smooth, scraping down the sides.

Next put the flours in a bowl, make a well in the center, then pour the spinach puree and some salt in the center. Slowly mix the flour into the center. When all the flour is mixed in, turn out on a board or counter and knead for about 5 min. Then form into a ball and wrap with plastic, let sit out at room temp for at least 30 mins. Take about 1/4 of the dough at a time and start making your noodles. This is the fun part! (We have to flip a coin to see who gets to crank the pasta roller :-))  Even though she has a hard time getting around, Mom couldn't help herself; she had to mosey into the kitchen to watch. From the smile on her face we could see she approved.

What a beautiful green color!
While the noodles are drying a bit, the bread goes into the hot preheated pan and oven. Put the salted pasta water on and begin to make the chicken / alfredo sauce. We used chicken breasts that we had marinated for a while (olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper and some Emeril's).
When the water boils, put in the pasta and cook until al dente.  It only takes a few minutes when your pasta is fresh.
Heat a skillet or a saucier pan at about med-high heat.  Add a tablespoon of olive oil, heat and add chicken breast that has been sliced across the grain about 1/4 inch pieces.  Cook in the hot oil just until cooked through and golden brown on both sides.  Remove to a plate and keep warm.

Now in the skillet add 4 tablespoons of butter, and a chopped shallot.  Cook until the shallot is tender, about 5 minutes or so.  Add one cup of half-and-half or cream if you want to be extra decadent.  Stir and scrape up the browned bits in the pan, and bring the cream to a boil.  Boil about 5 minutes until it has reduced a bit.
When the pasta is done, remove it and drain, holding back about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.  Put the pasta back into the pot, add the cream sauce and about 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese.  Add the reserved pasta water until it is the desired consistency. 

Of course you get the bread out to cool, then cut it and let the butter melt on the fresh slice. This loaf was wonderful! Just what the doctor ordered.

 Plate up the fettucine and add the chicken n the side, or stir together if desired.  Top with more parmesan.  Enjoy!

How can you resist that stare! We can't.

              Spinach Pasta Dough (adapted from Aliza Green cookbook)
6 oz. washed baby spinach leaves, stems removed
2 large eggs, room temperature
10-12 oz. pasta flour
Salt, about 1 tsp.
Fill a small pot with about ½ cup cold water and bring to a boil.  Add the spinach and cook until wilted, turning often so the spinach cooks evenly.  Cook 1 minute longer or until spinach is soft and brightly colored.   Drain and shock under cold water.  Squeeze out most of the water and form into compact ball.  Slice thinly in one direction, turn and slice the other way, then chop finely.  Place in food processor with 2 eggs and process until very fine.  Do not skip the chopping step or spinach will be stringy.
Pour the flour into a large bowl or on a work surface.  Make a well in center, add spinach and salt.  Stir from center until it forms large clumps, then turn out onto work surface to finish kneading to a smooth ball.  Add 2 or 3 teaspoons water if too dry, or a little more flour if too wet.  Knead about 5 minutes.  Wrap in plastic and let set on counter about 30 minutes to rest.  Proceed with rolling and cutting.
Alfredo Sauce with Chicken
(Chicken ingredients)                                            (Sauce ingredients)
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts           1 large shallot, chopped
Salt and pepper                                               4-5 tablespoons butter
Olive oil                                                      1 cup cream, half & half or milk
Squeeze of lemon                                  Pasta water saved from cooking noodles
Seasoning of choice on chicken      Grated parmesan cheese, about 1 cup, divided
Salt and pepper                                              Salt and pepper

Rub a little olive oil on chicken breasts and sprinkle with seasonings(tonight we used Emeril’s Cajun) and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Let sit while chopping shallot and grating cheese.  Heat a little olive oil in skillet.  Slice chicken about ¼ inch on the diagonal across the grain of the breasts. Toss a little to distribute seasonings.  Sauté in oil about medium high heat just until browned and cooked.  (Don’t overcook!)  Remove to a platter and keep warm.

Melt the butter in the same pan.  Sauté chopped shallot till tender, about 5 min.  Add the cream, stirring up the browned bits.  Bring to a boil and boil 5 minutes, or till slightly reduced and thickened.  Meanwhile, be cooking the pasta.  When the pasta is done, drain, saving about a cup of water.  Put pasta back into the pot; add the cream sauce, about half a cup of the parmesan cheese, and enough pasta water to the desired consistency.  Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the chicken or mix together if desired, and add more parmesan on top.  We used about ½ pound of pasta for this recipe.  Feeds about 4 skinny people.
This post is copyrighted by


  1. It would be a terrible disservice to all your followers if you did not post the recipes after seeing the way it looks. makes your mouth water.

    1. Barb, we will be updating the post with the recipe at the bottom; still working out the kinks and learning the ropes. Having a blog is motivating-we have a lot of things we often talk about doing and this makes it happen a lot quicker! Stay tuned...we have a few projects involving old doors and quilts :-)

  2. I am so glad that you post the recipes with the pictures because I fully intend to use them myself!
    I love that you can see Pickles little teeth in her first cute!

    1. Tasha, making those noodles was so much fun! We want to do one with red pepper next time. But tonight we need to use up the spinach dough, so it will probably be another ravioli. Yes, Pickles is a can you say no to a face like hers?

  3. Pickles' little grin melted my cold, cold heart. What a sweetie pie.