Saturday, December 10, 2005

Weekend Cookbook Challenge - My Oldest Cookbook

I am excited to write my first post for the new Weekend Cookbook Challenge hosted by myself and Alicat. I am really looking forward to the recipes and memories that all of the contributors will share.

The first challenge for the new WCC is to cook something out of the cookbook you have owned the longest. When I was younger I would regularly clean out my cookbooks, selling those I had no longer had an interest in to the used book store. So, my cookbook that I have had the longest was given to me by my Grandmother when I was getting ready to leave home at 18. It's called The Working Family's Cookbook. My sweet Grandmother never knew that I couldn't afford to cook anything out of here; I existed on toast and peas and rice and cheap food bought from the restaurant I worked at. I only kept this book because my Grandmother had given it to me;it's not something I would have bought for myself. Had I got it as a gift from someone else, it would have been out of my collection long ago. But now my Grandmother is gone, and this cookbook is one of the memories I have of her. I will never, ever give up this cookbook, and plan on cooking as many recipes out of it as I can, for her.

Well! On to the recipe. Since the weather here took a turn for the worse last week, I decided to make a hearty winter-y type dish. And sometimes nothing says winter better than a casserole.

Chicken Broccoli and Garlic Pasta Casserole
Serves 4
Adapted from the Working Family's Cookbook by Irena Chalmers
8 oz Radiatore pasta
3 cups broccoli florets and thinly sliced and peeled stem
3 tb butter
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tb flour
1 tsp dry thyme
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk
1 bay leaf
2 chicken breasts, cut into thin slices
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 small container cottage cheese
Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain and place in a large bowl.

Steam the broccoli for 5 minutes. Add to the pasta.

Heat oven to 350'.

In a large pan, heat butter over medium heat. Cook onion for 5 minutes until soft, then add the garlic. Add thyme and flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the stock and milk and whisk to combine. Add the bay leaf and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the chicken and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so. It's ok if the chicken is not fully cook through. Remove from the stove and season with salt pepper and nutmeg. Add to the bowl with the pasta and broccoli and stir to combine.

Line a 11x8 baking dish with parchment paper and pour in the pasta mixture. Spread the cottage cheese to top and grate some Parmesan cheese over the top.

Look at Scott go!

Bake for 20 minutes, then put under the broiler for 5 minutes or so to melt and brown the top.

This was very good and fairly quick too. I might add a bit more garlic and something other than thyme next time I make it. And maybe I'll try replacing the chicken and broccoli with something else. Ham and peas? Slices of pork tenderloin and mushrooms? Mmmmm, the possibilities could be endless.


it's only fuel said...

I'll work on mine tomorrow, been waiting for this challenge! Your casserole sounds and looks yummy!

Anonymous said...

It looks really good Sara. I think I might try this on the weekend, but I'll try the pork and mushroom idea!

Michele said...

Oh my goodness! All my fvorites all in one dish... I HAVE to make this!

Sara said...

Mandy, let me know how it turns out.

Nupur said...

What a sweet story, and that casserole looks delicious. It could also be easily adapted to a veggie version. Thanks for sharing!

Kalyn said...

I love the combination of chicken and broccoli. This does look good.