This January in Pittsburgh as temps are ping ponging between 28*F and -10*F on a weekly basis, i find myself more than ever longing for comfort foods. Stews that simmer for hours on end… filling the house with delightful aromas, homemade breads rising in front of the fire… ready to mop up red sauces later that evening, and ultra thick, creamy flavorful sauces like the one above… ready to cling to whatever pasta you pair it with. Our activities are limited in weather like this. Where we would normally linger outside in the yard with the dog, maybe tossing a tennis ball or two, we find ourselves hovering inside the door wishing he/she would hurry up and do their business already. Where we would normally be bundling up the children and sending them out for sledding and snowball fights, we find ourselves considering the risk of frostbite and keeping them inside instead. I myself love to run, and try to get out at least a couple of times per week to log some miles… but this weather… it’s abrasive to say the least. Our kitchens are the comfort hubs in the winter months. The oven is warm, the hot cocoa supply is endless, our pantries are stocked and families everywhere are baking batches of warm cookies on a whim… just for “something to do.” The recipe i’m about to arm you with comes together in less than a half hour- and warms in the oven a bit afterward while you get everyone ready for dinner … turn off the TV… turn on some relaxing music… enjoy a nice glass of wine and sit down and ‘be together’ with your family. “become present” and enjoy the food. Here we go.
what you need:
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 8oz container of sour cream
1 bag of frozen ‘cook in the bag’ broccoli florets
1 stalk of celery (and some of the leaves if you have them)
half an onion (if large) -whole if smaller
box of pasta (penne or farfalle or cavatappi- whatever you like)
cooked rotisserie chicken from your local store (just for ease)
what you do:
start a pot of water boiling – and cook pasta according to package directions. drain, rinse and set aside once it’s done. cook your broccoli in the microwave per package instructions. set aside once it’s done. in the mean time, if you are using a rotisserie chicken, slice up the breast meat- and cut into small pieces. set aside. dice your onion and celery (and leaves if you have some) and set aside. in a large non stick pan (i like to use a wok for this to be honest)- add a bit of olive oil or butter- and saute your onion/celery until tender- maybe five minutes or so. Add your 2 cans of soup and a half a can of milk. stir well to combine. see visual below.
bring this up to bubbling over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add pepper (maybe a half a tsp) and stir. pinch of salt- the soups are already salty though. Stir and then add your sour cream, your cooked broccoli and your chicken. stir to combine. see visual below.
bring back up to bubbling over a medium heat. turn off heat and add your cooked pasta right in… stirring to coat nicely. Take and grease a large lasagna pan with olive oil (or any oil)- and preheat your oven to 350*. Add this pasta right into your dish (careful- the pan will be heavy) and top with a bit of shredded cheese of your choosing. i chose a shredded cheddar jack- you don’t need much- maybe a cup- but if your family loves cheese… then go at it with two cups. 🙂 Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes uncovered. i neglected to take a finished plated pic of this last night… probably because i could not wait to get this into my mouth!! it was super duper delicious, creamy and satisfying in every way. Anyone can tackle this recipe. honest. Enjoy… and for goodness sakes, KEEP WARM!!