Looking for something that will elevate some of your spring veggies? Try your hand at this meal that is simple enough to make on a weeknight, but fancy enough for your next dinner party as well. This recipe takes a less commonly used protein: bone in, skin-on split chicken breasts and serves it alongside a cavatappi pasta dish boasting a luxurious mascarpone-based sauce with roasted mushrooms, asparagus and peas.
What I like about the dish is while there are a lot of elements, they assemble one after the other like a well-choreographed dance number. Start your preparation with the protein and within a few minutes you’re moving into roasting some mushrooms. Then, shortly after starting the pasta, you will find yourself making a few finishing touches on your veg preparation. The whole dinner comes together quickly and is sure to please. I think it is a perfect combination of a luxurious saucy pasta and crisp, clean finds that come each spring.
Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta in Mascarpone Sauce With Roasted Chicken Breast
4 split chicken breast (bone-in, skin on)
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp basil leaves
Salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
1 box of white button or cremini mushrooms, cleaned with stems removed, smashed with a knife or palm of your hand and torn into bite sized pieces
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 bunch of asparagus, cleaned and prepared by cutting into bite sized pieces
1 box of cavatappi pasta
4 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
1–2 large handfuls of baby spinach
1 c. fresh or frozen peas
1 8oz. container of mascarpone cheese
½ tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
Combine olive oil, Italian seasoning, basil leaves, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a small bowl. Brush the contents of the bowl on all sides of the chicken.
When the oven is preheated, place brushed split chicken breasts on a large baking sheet/roasting pan. Cook for 50-60 minutes, or until the chicken reaches a safe temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to baste throughout the cooking process. Be sure to tent the chicken in foil when it is finished.
After the chicken has been cooking for 20 minutes, prepare your mushrooms to roast. In a large bowl, toss mushrooms with 2 Tbsp. of olive oil. Once evenly coated, scatter the mushrooms on the baking sheet with the chicken. This step somewhat dries or dehydrates the mushrooms, deepening their flavor.
Once your mushrooms are roasting with the chicken, fill a large stock pot, or dutch oven with enough water to cook the pasta and set over high heat. Generously add salt to the water to flavor the pasta.
Just as the water begins to boil, throw in the asparagus and peas in to blanch. The color will become vibrant green! The goal is to just cook the tender beauties! Strain them off after a few moments and transfer them over to an ice bath to halt the cooking process.
Bring the water back to boil and cook the pasta until al dente.
In a dutch oven set over medium heat combine milk and butter. When the butter is melted and the milk is warm, add mascarpone cheese, onion powder, parsley, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the sauce is warm and the mascarpone is completely melted and blended in. Finally, add in mushrooms, spinach, asparagus and peas. Continue stirring until the sauce is nice and hot.
Add in pasta, stirring gently until incorporated. Garnish with freshly cracked pepper and serve alongside the chicken.