Creamy Tuscan Pasta Sauce With Chicken and Balsamic Mushrooms

“Decadent, creamy, flavorful, and very impressive while also being simple and straightforward to prepare! This is the kind of recipe I would make to impress a date on Valentine's day, yet it's also simple and easy to whip together quickly! But how can you go wrong with anything involving cream cheese, balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, basil, mushrooms, chicken, parmesan? The combination of colors and flavors is perfect.”
READY IN:
1hr
SERVES:
4
YIELD:
4
UNITS:
US

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Set out cream cheese to soften. Then prepare your chicken. Precooked chicken strips are very easy, and this would also be a great way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken, by dicing into bite-sized pieces. Or you can bake or pan-fry your chicken breasts and then cut into bite sized pieces.
  2. Prepare the balsamic mushrooms. First, in a small dish, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and 1 tablespoon water, set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the mushrooms and salt and stir right away with a wooden spoon until the mushrooms have absorbed all the fat.
  4. Let the mushrooms cook undisturbed for 2 minutes and then stir once. The pan will look dry, but keep the heat at medium-high and continue to cook, stirring infrequently, until the mushrooms are shrunken, glistening, and some sides have developed a deep orange-brown color, 6 to 7 minutes more.
  5. Turn the heat to low, add the garlic and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and cook, stirring, until the butter is melted and the garlic is fragrant, 15 to 20 seconds. Carefully add the balsamic mixture. Cook, stirring, until the liquid reduces to a glazey consistency that coats the mushrooms, 15 to 20 seconds. Season with pepper. Set aside mushrooms.
  6. Prep remaining ingredients - shred parmesan, mince garlic (or use garlic press), halve cherry tomatoes, julienne-slice basil leaves into thin strips, boil pasta.
  7. In a medium pot or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, taking care not to let the garlic burn. Stir in the dried basil. Add the cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until the mixture is smooth. It will look curdled at first, but with constant whisking for 2-3 minutes, it should come together to form a smooth, creamy paste. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes.
  8. Over medium heat, add the milk gradually, about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking quickly and constantly until each addition is incorporated fully into the sauce. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, pepper, salt, and half of the fresh basil. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the cheese is melted and the sauce is the desired consistency, 5-10 minutes.
  9. Plate! Layer pasta, then chicken, then mushrooms, then sauce, and top with cherry tomatoes and remaining fresh basil.

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