I am finally getting around to posting the meal I served Jan’s childhood friends last Saturday. This is basically my noodles Florentine recipe with meat added. While this is a dish is a meal in a bowl, I served it with a side of steamed broccolini.
Note: Jan is pushing the Michael Pollen philosophy, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” Now that I have diabetes, I’ll have to pay more attention.
Karl’s Chicken Florentine
8 oz. spinach, frozen
3 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
½ tsp. black pepper, separate uses
½ tsp. Kosher salt, separate uses
4 Tbs. butter, separate uses
½ yellow onion
1 tsp. Kosher salt, separate uses
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs. flour
1½ cups whole milk
6 oz. wide noodles, dried
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the spinach for four minutes.
Tip: You can save on heating a second pot of water by pouring the spinach water into a second pot. This will not only save on time and energy, but will add some flavor to the noodles as you boil them.
2. Drain the spinach, cool in cold water, and squeeze it dry. Chop the spinach finely, place it in a bowl and set it aside.
3. Cut the chicken into medium bite sized pieces and lightly salt and pepper them.
4. Melt one tablespoon of butter in a large pan and brown the chicken pieces on both sides. Remove them from the pan when done and set them aside.
Tip: You want plenty of space between the pieces, so fry them in two batches.
5. Cut the onion, pole to pole, into thin crescents and set aside.
Tip: You want the onion slices to be about ¼ inch at the widest.
6. Without cleaning the pan, sauté the onions with half a teaspoon of salt over a medium high heat until just translucent, about three minutes.
7. Add the garlic and sauté one minute more, until fragrant.
8. Crack fresh pepper over the onions, to taste, and stir it in.
9. Transfer the onions to the spinach bowl.
10. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add half a teaspoon of salt and the noodles. Simmer until they are just al dente.
11. While the noodles are cooking, melt the remaining three tablespoons of butter in the pan. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a light roux, about 3-5 minutes.
Tip: The longer you cook a roux the darker it will get. For this dish you want it to be fairly pale.
12. Put the milk in the microwave and heat it on high for one minute.
Tip: If you add cold milk to the roux it will clump up and it will be harder to make a smooth sauce.
13. Slowly add the milk to the roux while stirring constantly until it is starting to thicken.
13. Stir in the contents of the spinach bowl and the Parmesan cheese until it is well combined and the cheese has melted into the sauce.
Tip: Keep the sauce at a low simmer until the noodles are almost ready.
15. Add the chicken and basil to the sauce and continue heating for three minutes, until the chicken is heated through.
16. Drain the pasta and transfer it to a serving bowl.
17. If your serving bowl is large enough, pour the chicken Florentine over the noodles.
Tip: If your serving bowl is not large enough, serve the noodles and sauce in separate bowl.
Note: Jan prefers this second method of presentation. because she can more easily control her portions size of the noodles.