As a major snowstorm spread across our area, I felt the need to make something soothing and decadent in a very southern Italian key. Here is Snowstorm Sicilian Pasta, invented to celebrate the music of falling snow:
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
3 large shallots, or six small--minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup of pine nuts, toasted
1 fennel bulb, sliced--keep the fronds for serving
3 organic chicken thighs, skinned
1 cup half and half or cream
1 cup red pepper pesto
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup golden raisins
a handful of pea shoots or other small fresh greens
grated reggiano-parmesan cheese
1/2 lb fresh fettucine
Sauté chicken thighs in olive oil until nicely golden; season with salt and black and cayenne pepper. Set aside. Sauté shallots, red onions and garlic in a blend of olive oil and butter until cooked; season lightly with salt. Add fennel slices, cook until tender.
Toast pine nuts until lightly golden in oven or toaster oven.
Bring salted water to boil, add pasta, cook until tender, drain and fluff with a little olive oil and or butter; grind some black pepper over top.
Cut cooked chicken thighs into smallish pieces, add to onion-fennel mixture. Gently re-heat, adding chicken stock, ground pepper, some red pepper flakes, toasted pinenuts and golden raisins. Next add the cream and red pepper pesto--blend and check seasonings. Toss in a handful of baby greens.
Add pasta to chicken-vegetable sauce, re-heat slowly to blend. Just before serving, grate reggiano-parmesan cheese over, garnish with fennel fronds. Serve with a young, bright red--we enjoyed a Blue Fin 2007 California Petite Sirah with this!