Monday, April 26, 2010

Takeout Fake-out: Conchiglie Balsamico

I don't really miss much about our old central New Jersey apartment, but what I do miss is how close we lived to Princeton. In downtown Princeton there is a restaurant called Teresa Caffe. This restaurant serves quite possibly my favorite meal that I have ever ordered out - Conchiglie Balsamico, which is "shell shaped pasta, raised right chicken, asparagus in a balsamic cream sauce" according to the menu. That brief listing of ingredients does not even begin to describe how truly tasty this meal is. It sometimes makes me wish we never moved! (That, and ice cream from the Bent Spoon, of course!)

Since we can't really make a spontaneous hour and fifteen minute trip up there, I thought this would be a great meal to try for my "takeout fakeout" series. I think my version turned out okay, but it was nowhere near as good as the original. We still have some friends in the area, so maybe we will have to make a trip up there soon!

Conchiglie Balsamico
inspired by a dish at Teresa Caffe

1 lb asparagus, cut into bite size pieces, bitter ends discarded
1 lb chicken, cubed
2 tbsp olive oil
2 c pasta (some sort of shell shaped pasta would work best)
1/2 c light cream
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
red pepper flakes

Take the cream out of the refrigerator so it will be at room temperature when you need to use it.

Set up a pot of water for the pasta. While you are waiting for it to boil, cut up the asparagus and chicken. Coat a large skillet (large enough to fit all of the ingredients) with olive oil and cook the chicken. Drain the pan and pat the chicken with a paper towel to get rid of the excess oil.

When pasta has about three minutes left to cook, place a steamer bucket over the top with the asparagus in it. Make your pasta water do double duty! Combine the asparagus and chicken in the already heated pan. After draining the pasta, add it to the chicken asparagus mixture.

Pour in the cream and vinegar. Stir so the sauce mixes and coats all of the ingredients. If desired, add a few shakes of red pepper flakes for a little zing.

Chef's Notes
This makes about 6 servings, but does not really reheat well. The second night that we had it, the pasta absorbed most of the cream. I would suggest either making just enough for one serving, or setting aside the "leftover" portions and adding the cream/vinegar the night you are going to eat it.

1 comment:

  1. You'll never believe it, Teresa does not prepare Conchiglie Balsamico anymore... so unbelievably sad!