I should be in bed – just finished feeding Daniel for the last time and have a few minutes before I’m sleepy enough to nod off. We went to the Submarine Birthday Ball tonight (in case you were wondering – no it’s not a sphere painted like a submersible, it’s 113th Annual dinner/dance in celebration and remembrance of the submarine force.) We try to go to this event every spring, and each year I am touched by the presence of submarine veterans and the tolling of the bell for submarines that have been lost at sea. Did you know that during WWII alone, 50 United States submarines were lost?? I know that’s a drop in the bucket of human losses during WWII, and even just when compared to the fact that probably the losses of all other shipping were pretty great, but in terms of percentage lost, I’m pretty sure being a submariner was one of the most dangerous jobs out there. Two men helped cut the birthday cake tonight who had qualified on their subs (receiving their “dolphins”) in 1943. Such brave men.
We had planned a family photo shoot prior to our departure for the Ball, but, alas, the rain had other plans. When I returned from the mall where an awesome girl named Mac did my hair, the torrential rain had me worried I might not make it even in under an hour to the house (it’s a 20 minute drive normally.) Thankfully, the puddles weren’t in my lanes, and the roads were accident-free, speeding my meet-up at the gate with the photographer, Sarah Stewart, who we just met recently through church. We will certainly be rescheduling, since I’m hoping to populate the top of this blog with her photos of us sometime soon….Even though she came back to the house with us, it was still coming down by our drop-dead-must-leave-for-the-ball (or John would have turned into a pumpkin) time, so she took a few shots of the group on the front porch, and we were off to the races. What follows are a few pictures from the evening, and then a scrumptuous recipe – inspired by the Macaroni Grill’s bowtie pasta in a creamy white wine sauce with sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, and chicken.
*Pictures from the iphone – a bit dark 🙂
*Standing in front of a bell (formerly a ship’s bell maybe?) and near the cake – we didn’t have any of it, because they served delicious cheesecake as well.
BOWTIE CHICKEN PASTA
4 Chicken Breasts – cut into strips to marinate better
1 pound bowtie pasta
2 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup white wine
3 cups half-and-half
1 cup mozzerella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2-1 cups sliced sundried tomatoes
4 Tbsp butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
white pepper and salt to taste
A few hours before dinner, marinate the chicken in something. You could pour some Italian dressing into a ziploc or just throw together oil, wine, lemon juice, and a few seasonings. Just a bit of flavor for the chicken ; it’s going to end up in the sauce so this is not the most important step.
Boil the pasta. For me, the huge pot of water takes forever to boil, and the pasta cooks 14 minutes. So, in the 30 minutes the rest of the meal takes to prepare, you can have the pasta cooking.
In a large skillet, melt the butter (2 Tbsp), stir in the flour til smooth, and then whisk in the white wine. I forgot to stir mine for a while, which is why it’s lumpy in the picture and took a lot of work to smooth out. Add the cream and stir constantly over medium-low heat.
In a separate pan, saute the mushrooms with the butter (the other 4 Tbsp) and garlic. DO NOT SALT the mushrooms, as I heard on a cooking show that this causes them to “sweat” leading to steaming/boiling the mushrooms rather than a real sauteing of the mushrooms. Meanwhile, grill the chicken. Once it’s grilled, cut it into large-bite-sized chunks. (When I didn’t have my nifty “griddler” I just baked it in the oven for 20-30 minutes.)
Saute the sun-dried tomatoes with a little olive oil in your mushroom pan (Take the mushrooms out first, and set them aside.)
Finally, add the cheeses to the cream sauce, stir until melted, season with salt and white pepper; then, transfer the mushrooms, sliced chicken (already grilled) and tomatoes to the sauce. Drain the pasta and return it to the huge pot (or a lovely serving bowl big enough for stirring), pouring the sauce into it and mixing well. Be sure not to overcook your pasta in order to prevent it from breaking apart at this point. I have had one friend prepare the whole meal, transfer it to a baking dish, refrigerate it overnight, and then warm it in the oven covered in foil – instant awesomeness.
PS – DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE GIVEAWAY!! THIS IS MY 206TH POST SO WE ONLY HAVE UNTIL 210 POSTS TO REACH OUR GOAL! If you’re sharing recipes from the blog, I have rearranged the “recipe” tab at the top now (“in the kitchen”) to better organize the recipes. You can read about the GIVEAWAY here.