Frank cooked last night. He chose a recipe from The North End Italian Cookbook (Fourth Edition). The original recipe starts with whole chickens and feeds twelve people. This version uses boneless chicken thighs, eliminates or substitutes a few ingredients, and is basically cut in half, but the flavors ring true.
I didn’t participate in the cooking at all. The Big Guy tackled this rather ambitious recipe on his own, and it was absolutely wonderful!
3 sweet Italian sausages
5 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
1/2 cup olive oil
4-6 TBS butter
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 8oz.can artichoke hearts in water (cut artichokes in quarters; reserve liquid)
1 package small whole mushrooms
3 cloves garlic,minced
2 large onions, sliced
1- 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
pinch dried oregano
1-2 TBS flour
broccoli flowerets (approx. 2 cups)
1/2 pound ziti
1. Cut chicken thighs and sausages into large bite sized pieces.
2. Film a large skillet with about half of the olive oil. Fry the chicken and sausage chunks until they are well browned. Season with salt and pepper. Move the browned meat to an oven proof dish.
3. In same skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the onions and cook until they soften. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic when the onions are just about soft. Add about half of the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and oregano. Heat through to combine flavors. Pour sauce over the browned meat in the baking dish.
4. Whisk enough flour into the cup of chicken stock to make a thin paste. Heat over medium heat until the mixture thickens. Season with a little salt and pepper. Pour about half of the mixture over the chicken and sausages. Stir to make sure that it has been evenly distributed. Bake in a 350 oven for 25 minutes. Pour the wine over the mixture and bake for another 15 minutes.
5. In the same skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, the remainder of the tomatoes, and the drained artichoke hearts. Season with a little salt and pepper. Let cook for a couple of minutes; then add the reserved thickened stock. Simmer gently for a few minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add a little extra wine or broth to thin it out.
6. Cook the ziti according to package directions.
7. While the pasta is cooking, film a pan with olive oil and sauté the broccoli with a minced clove of garlic. Add the reserved water from the can of artichokes for extra flavor.
8. Add the cooked pasta to the broccoli, garlic mixture and toss to combine.
9. At this point, you can be fancy and put a layer of pasta and broccoli on a platter , followed by a layer of chicken and sausage, and topped with the mushroom/artichoke sauce. Or you can make your own layers in individual bowls. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.