I hope y'all had an excellent Easter, Passover, or Rite of Spring, depending. We had a wonderful time, with family, friends, a number of exceedingly Odd Easter eggs (owing to combinng the family and friends with a large quantity of champagne mojitos during the coloring), and a lovely Easter Vigil service. Followed, of course, by the Easter Feast.
We do Italian for Easter. Antipasto, Entertaining Olives (red Cerignolas this year, plus the usual Greek salad mix), berry salad, Lasagna, mini-pizzas, and Drunk Chicken Pasta Salad. Since that last is on my favorites of '08, and it's fresh in my mind (but not, alas, the refrigerator; we ate the Whole Thing on Easter Sunday, which is too bad, because it makes excellent leftovers), I figured I'd post the recipe. Hope you enjoy it!
DRUNK CHICKEN PASTA SALAD
3-4 large chicken breasts (well, one per person, really, but you'll have to
adjust the other ingredients upward if you use more than four.)
tequila (any kind)
bottled margarita mix
1 medium red onion
2 green onions, chopped
artichoke hearts - two small jars, or one large one
1 lb. asparagus
6-7 large mushrooms (just the usual white or brown ceps type,
though if you really like other kinds, you can certainly substitute
or use them in addition. Just be careful if you use portabella, as
the gills will shed dark stuff all over the pasta)
about a cup of olives - pitted, preferably, and strong-flavored,
but any kind you like. Spanish queen olives are good; so are
kalamata and the big green Greek olives. I don't recommend the
little Sicilian ones, just because they're such a pain to cut up.
extra-virgin olive oil
a good balsamic vinegar
2-4 T. butter
one pkg. Good Seasons Zesty Italian salad dressing mix
1 large box farfalle (bow-tie) pasta (I like Barilla, myself)
fresh romano or parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
1 very large bowl
OK. To start, you mince up four or five (or six or seven,
depending on size and how much you like garlic) cloves of garlic,
plus about a third of the red onion. Saute' 2/3 the minced garlic
and chopped green onion in a deep frying pan with enough
olive oil to cover, and add some rosemary.
Trim the chicken breasts, then gash each one deeply several
times on both sides. Put chicken in the saute' pan to brown, and
pour a tablespoon or so of tequila over each breast. As the
chicken cooks, alternate additional applications of tequila with
equal applications of margarita mix. As the chicken browns, the
liquid in the pan will cook slowly down into a thick blackish
glaze; make sure the breasts are well coated on both sides with
this. Cook until chicken is completely cooked through, then set
aside on chopping board.
While the chicken is browning, saute' the remaining 1/3 of the
minced garlic and green onion in a couple of tablespoons of melted
butter. Break cleaned asparagus into small pieces (one or two
inches long) and add to saute'. Add herbs, finely minced. Add
sliced mushrooms, stirring frequently. When asparagus is tender
and mushrooms have absorbed all the butter, set aside.
Cook the pasta in a large quantity of boiling water. While
it's cooking, quarter the olives, halve the artichoke hearts, and
slice the remaining red onion into thin rings.
Mix the Good Seasons salad dressing mix with balsamic vinegar and
Extra-virgin olive oil.
Dice the cooked chicken breasts.
In a very large bowl, combine a) the sliced olives, artichokes
and onions, b) the sauteed asparagus and mushrooms, c) the diced
"drunk" chicken, and d) the cooked bow-tie pasta. Slosh about 3/4
of the salad dressing over the mixture and toss thoroughly.
Serve warm, with fresh romano or parmesan cheese grated or
shredded on top, and additional dressing as desired.
It's not at all difficult, but it _is_ time-consuming; it
normally takes me about an hour and a half to do. Worth it,