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Adding chicken to a pasta dish -- how to?

Hi everyone-
Newbie here. :) I have a recipe from CookingLight that I *love* -- it's called Farafelle with Creamy Mushroom sauce, and it's absolutely delicious. (link here: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/farfa...

)

Since pasta = carbs and not much protein, I usually end up adding chicken to the recipe. I've cut up chicken tenders and sauteed them with the onions/shallots, but inevitably the chicken never really picks up much flavor and tends to be dry in the final product. I might be overcooking the chicken, but it's difficult to test each bite-sized piece to see if they're cooked all the way through. :)

Any suggestions on how to cook the chicken so it actually tastes decent and doesn't dry out?

Thanks!

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  1. Sounds like you are overcooking them. I would suggest not cutting them up but sauteing them whole and pulling out when they are still quite pink. Slice and then add them to the pasta dish where they will finish cooking. PS An instant read thermometer can do wonders for knowing when chicken is done but not overcooked.

    1. i agree with escondido..it sound like your overcooking the chicken...
      it shouldnt take very long to saute pretty small pieces of chicken..
      and when are u adding it to the pasta dish?

      what kind of flavor do u want to add to the chicken?
      i would think if u spice the chicken to much ..its going to get somewhat lost once u add it the creamy mushroom sauce or conversely its going to spice up the whole dish...

      and just adding chicken to this dish?
      or any pasta dish?

      1. I would cut into same bite sized pieces, season, and sautee but remove them (if you need to check doneness, check one of the larger pieces by cutting in half but try to have them close in size). Then, in the caramelized chicken remains in the pan, add onions and mushrooms, etc and sautee and continue. Add the chicken back in w/ the pasta. Not Cooking Light-like but I'd probably cook up some bacon and then cook the chicken in the bacon fat... Add chicken and bacon back in.

        2 Replies
        1. re: chowser

          Yes, I'm one of those weird, strange people that doesn't care much for bacon. Otherwise it sounds good. :)

          1. re: chowser

            I have a vegetarian based pasta recipe with a mushroom sauce to which I add chicken, and I use the same method that Chowser describes. Sautee the chicken in bite-size pieces til done (or even slightly underdone as they will continue to cook a bit while they rest), then remove from the pan. Continue with the rest of the recipe, using the same pan to cook your aromatics, etc. Add the chicken back in when you combine the cooked pasta and sauce.

          2. I like chicken thighs and drum sticks as opposed to breast meat because the leg parts have more flavor and do not dry out as easily as breast meat. When I make chicken paprikash, I bake the boneless thighs for about 25-30 minutes at 325 F. When the meat is cooled so that it can be handled, I break up the thighs by hand.

            Prepare your pasta (farfalle) according to the package instructions. Add whatever 'condimento' (my wife calls the red stuff 'gravy'...to me it's sauce, 'salsa di pomodoro') you usually use to the drained pasta, then the shredded meat and mix well. Serve

            My genes are not Italian, my wife's genes are Italian. That's why there have been 51+ years of condimento bickering.

            Vivi, ama, ridi e mangia bene! (Live, love, laugh and eat well!). The verb tenses are imperative for those who think I don't know my basic Italian syntax.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ChiliDude

              I'm with you on thighs. Pretty much fool proof as to not getting a dry texture.

            2. i assume you do not mean frozen chicken tenders, but the breasts sliced thinly?
              I think I would bake the chicken, or saute in like ingredients as the sauce you are making until close to being done but not completely cooked, then allow it to finish cooking in the sauce.
              better choice for juicy would be as chilidude says: bake pieces of chicken and then shred

              Oh and by the way--welcome to CH