For this recipe I've created something of an excersise in conflict - the rich, creamy alfredo sauce, topped with the earthy, rustic mushrooms, roasted chicken, and spicy chili flakes spice blend that is brought together with a hearty quality pasta that is better that anything you can find at the grocery store and then a strong drizzle of Frankies 457 Calabrian Chil Oil to bring everything together. OMG it's so good!
The first note here is no matter how good the spice or the sauce - if you start with junk pasta, nothing else matters. I didn't quite "get that" till recently when I began to discover that there were actually some pretty respectable dried pasta compnies out there who's product tasted as good as fresh made.
That's certainly the case here with Frankies 457 Mezze Maniche (and I'd assume the same is true for their other varieties as well). Plus, not only do they simply describe how the pasta is typically prepared and some background on it - but it also tells you where in Italy it is popular. For instance, this Mezze Maniche is popular with the people of Lazio a region just south of Rome. On the other hand, Cavatelli is more popular in Southern Italy while Busiate is from Trapani, Sicily and Linguine is from Genoa.
Maybe most people know that already ... but I didn't ... and that's part of the fun with cooking is exploring the world through your gut!
Frankies 457 was founded by two NY Chefs and is a specialty foods brand that is commited to to introducing the world to the highest quality Italian ingredients - including initially pasta and olive oils. I think this is a great idea since at least for myself (and I think many Americans) - Italian food, like Mexican and some others - has been so comoditized that we think it is just "ordinary" because that's what we find at Kroger if you aren't willing to spend an extra $1 for something better than Simple Truth brand pasta sauce for instance.
The company is based in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn but they also have an olive farm in Sicily ... these guys are the real deal and so I had a blast creating something with their ingredients!
Mushroom Chicken Chili Alfredo
I love the flavors that come together here since it creates that sense of fall in your mouth that becons you back to the warmth of the house after a day walking around in fall woods and leaves. With lesser pastas, the whole dish wouldn't be able to come together in the same way ... but I was pretty excited to see how well Frankies 457 held up and resisted being overwhelmed by the sauce or the spices.
- 1 Bag of Frankies 457 Mezi Maniche Pasta
- 1pound of shredded / chunked roast chicken (I used a Costco rotiserie chicken)
- "as needed" Chile de Arbol seasoning (I used Spanglish Asadero)
- .5 pound of Sliced Baby Bella mushrooms
- Creamy Garlic Alfredo Sauce (you can use your favorite bottle or make some yourself by whisking together cream, parmesean cheese, butter, and salt / pepper)
- Frankies 457 Everyday Oil (a blend of three different olive varieties - Nocellara del Belice, Biancolilla)
- Frankies 457 Calabrian Chili Oil (for drizzling on top afterwards to give the dish that extra kick!)
As I mentioned, good pasta start with good pasta, so while the Mezze Maniche is boiling, it's time to shred the roasted chicken into bite-sized-chunks and start cooking them in a skillet with the mushrooms and Chile de Arborl.
Once the pasta is done, drain and mix with the alfredo sauce and top with the chicken!
For a final kick to take things to the next level, drizzle your preferred amount of Frankies 457 Chili Oil around the dish. I found that with a shallow bowl or plate that not only did it work to give a nice sense of definition on top but it also collected along the bottom edge of the pasta an provided a nice foundation as well.
Your preferences my vary from mine though and I absolutely love chili oil so I probably overdid it a bit :)
Frankies 457 products can be purchased online at their website.