by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez / Sunday, August 15, 2010
Mac and Cheese with Roasted Chicken, Goat Cheese, & Rosemary ala Michael Symon
I know you've all had this dilemna before. You know, when you make one of THE absolute tastiest, transforming dishes you've ever had in your life...and then the picture looks...well...basically...boring. That frustrates the poo out of me! I mean, if you look at the pictures on this page, you would probably be content with yourself if you just passed this dish by. No second thoughts. No tingling taste buds. No itch-which-must-be-scratched to make this dish, PRONTO! Therefore, I must insist that you believe me when I tell you that the unimpressive photos that you see on this page were photos of one of the most STELLAR, comforting, memorable pasta dishes I've eaten in ages! No frickin' joke. If you like things that are delicious, you will love this.
It all started with a name. Michael Symon. I'd begun to hear it everywhere I turned lately. I saw people raving about his food, his restaurant, his prowess. Who is this mysterious man!? Give me a break people, I don't have cable, satellite, dish, digital-whatever-it-is that brings you millions of shows that cause you to sit with remote control at the ready. So, I did what any respectable food-lover would. I checked his book out from the library. I sat down with my slips of paper at the ready and started paging through. Mmmmm. Yum. Tasty. There I was...becoming enamored with this gorgeous, tattooed, chef from my part of the Midwest (which to me consists of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, & Wisconsin)...and he's got me ripping the markers like crazy. I wanted to run not walk to the kitchen and start cookin' up something anything that I was now craving.
I decided to start with a dish he described as "a comfort meal times ten." That was an understatement. The simplicity is both encouraging and astounding after you taste what you've created with only these 6 ingredients. If you have pasta on hand who doesn't!?, some cream, and a bit of rosemary in the garden I do, yay!, then you are in for the comfort meal of a lifetime. I think you could easily omit the shredded roast chicken if you don't have it and still be just as satisfied.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add enough salt so that it tastes seasoned. While the water is coming to a boil, put the cream, rosemary, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring just to a simmer, then lower the heat to medium and simmer to reduce the mixture by half. Be careful, when it comes to the boil, it'll rise and spill over the edges quickly...and that would suck for so many reasons.
Add the goat cheese and chicken to the cream and bring back to a simmer. Continue cooking until it coats the back of a spoon, ~30 mins. Only took me ~15. But I was more than happy to sit there, sticking a spoon in to test the consistency...pulling out spoonfuls at a time and literally drinking this delectable sauce. Seriously, I wanted to pour it in a cup and call it a day.
Add the rigatoni to the boiling water and cook until al dente, ~10 mins. Drain pasta and add to the sauce. Toss to combine and bring back to a simmer. You may need to save a little cooking water for thinning.
And there you have it, my friends. An unphotogenic masterpiece!! So, thanks to Joanne, Natashya, and Kim for mentioning Michael Symon so often...my life is better now that I've had this meal....and I'm looking forward to more Symon....
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Michiana-based food, drink, and travel writer with a fondness for garlic, freshly baked bread, stinky cheese, single malt Scotch, and Mexican food—who believes that immersing herself in different cultures one bite at a time is the best path to enlightenment.