Nothing fancy, just a very comforting bowl of pasta that relies on many of the same ingredients you will probably already have in the house from making pizza. This is one of Ken’s favorite dinners and for what it’s worth, we’ve been happily eating it for years. If I don’t have leftover chicken and he’s craving it, I’ll quickly poach a couple of boneless breasts or thighs and then tear those up. Quite rustic, it’s the combination of the roasted garlic, ground walnuts, and walnut pieces that give this dish its earthy, decadent spin.

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup sliced cremini or button mushrooms
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup dry white wine, plus more as needed
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons Roasted Garlic Smear, or more to taste
  • 8 ounces linguine or other pasta
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken such as Whole Roasted Chicken or Butterflied Chicken on the Grill
  • Leaves from 3 to 4 sprigs of fresh basil, torn or thinly sliced
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Method

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release their liquid and the liquid evaporates, 10 to 12 minutes. When the mushrooms begin to stick lightly to the bottom of the pan, add the wine and deglaze. Let the mushrooms sauté in the wine until the wine is slightly reduced and the mushrooms are nicely caramelized.

Meanwhile, very finely chop ¼ cup of the walnuts. Add the roasted garlic to the mushrooms along with the chopped walnuts. Stir to combine well and remove from the heat.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta until about a minute from being done. Drain the pasta, retaining about a cup of the cooking water, and set aside.

Toss the chicken with some salt and pepper and add it to the mushroom mixture. If the mixture seems too dry at this point, add a bit more wine and cook over medium heat until the chicken is just warmed through.

Add the pasta to the mushroom and chicken mixture. If the mixture seems dry, add some olive oil or a bit of the reserved pasta cooking liquid to moisten. Break the remaining ¼ cup walnuts into rough pieces and add to the pan along with the basil. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the Parmesan on top.

Quite rustic, it’s the combination of the roasted garlic, ground walnuts, and walnut pieces that give this dish its earthy, decadent spin.

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