When I think pasta, my head usually gets stuck on one of two kinds of sauces: tomato-based or garlic & cream-based. So imagine my delight when I saw a mustard-based sauce over at Thyme for Cooking. In retrospect, it doesn’t seem at all far-fetched, but it was eye opening at the time, so I had to try my hand at Creamy Mustard Pasta.
This dish is very largely inspired by Katie’s dish and I am very glad I tried it (not to mention beans in pasta, another new idea!)–as soon as we ran out, my wife demanded another batch be made promptly. I wanted something colorful and just full of earthy, vegetal flavors, so there’s a lot of that going on here: peppers, mushrooms, artichokes, kidney beans, pine nuts, etc. This was all tossed with bow-tie pasta (I usually don’t venture far away from linguine, so this made for a more “fun” looking dish), small pieces of chicken, and rich, thick, creamy mustard sauce.
The result was really tasty, hearty, and surprisingly filling for what looked like an innocent, light pasta dish–the beans packed a lot more “weight” than I gave them credit for. The sauce was mildly (but still distinctly) mustardy, creamy, and had a pleasantly full feeling in the mouth. The leek, shallot, and mushroom tastes are subtle, just sort of lingering in the back, but giving things that earthy tinge. The pine nuts just give a nice, light bit of crunch to the dish. This dish is my entry for this week’s Presto Pasta Nights, which is guest hosted this week by Kevin at Closet Cooking.
- olive oil
- 1 lb “bulky” pasta (I used bowtie)
- 1 shallot
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 leek
- 8 oz dried porcini mushrooms
- ~1.75 lb chicken thighs
- smoked paprika
- ground mustard
- ground thyme
- 1 can (~15 oz) red/kidney beans
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup stock
- 2 Tbsp dijon
- 1 Tbsp stone ground mustard
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch (in the stock)
- ~1/4 cup artichoke hearts
- handful of toasted pinenuts
- 1/4 cup parsely
- 1/4 cup basil
- juice of 1/2 lemon
Begin by preparing all of the fresh ingredients. Mince the shallots, leek (and rinse it well!), and garlic finely. Dice the pepper, chop the mushrooms, coarsely chop the artichoke hearts (I used from a jar…I know, I know!), and chop up the fresh herbs.
Now, chop up the chicken into bite-sized chunks, trimming any excess fat. Mix the spices in a bowl and toss the chicken to partially coat it all over. Dredge in flour and sauté in olive oil for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through. Set the cooked chicken aside.
If you need additional oil and/or butter in the pan, add it and get it hot again. Sauté the shallot, leek, and pepper for about 5 minutes to soften them up a bit, after which, you should add the garlic and artichoke hearts for another 2 minutes.
Finally, add in the mushrooms with a dash of salt, sautéing for 5-10 minutes more, or until the mushrooms finally are just on the verge of caramelizing a bit. Deglaze the pan with wine and all but a tablespoon or so of the stock, scraping any brown bits off of the bottom.
Some time during all of this, you should start cooking the pasta per package directions so it is drained and ready just when you need it. Also, briefly toast some pine nuts in a dry pan (for somewhere under 5 minutes–you don’t want to burn them) and set them aside.
Off to the side, make a slurry of the remaining stock and the cornstarch, stirring well until totally mixed and no clumps remain. Set this aside.
As the liquid simmers, add in both mustards, the cream, lemon juice, and herbs, continuing to simmer for about 5-10 minutes, after which, you should quickly stir in the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce up, let simmer for a minute more, and then remove from heat.
In a large bowl, toss the pasta, chicken, and sauce until the sauce has coated everything well. Lastly, add in the beans, tossing a bit more gently (so as not to mash them up and discolor everything) along with some pine nuts.