Chicken & Tasso in Cream on Pasta


Makes 4 servings


4 quarts hot water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound fresh spaghetti or ¾ pound dry
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1½ teaspoons Chef Paul Prudhomme's Meat Magic®
1 cup diced boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 ounces julienned Chef Paul Prudhomme's Tasso (preferred) or other smoked ham (preferably Cure 81), cut into 1 1/2 x 1/4 x 1/4 inch julienne strips (2 cups julienned) (see note)
¾ cup finely chopped green onions
3 cups heavy cream

How To Prepare

Note: If you substitute ham for the Tasso, use an additional 2½ teaspoons Meat Magic®. (If you use a very salty ham begin with 1½ teaspoons Meat Magic® and add more to taste.)

Place the hot water, oil and salt in a large pot over high heat; cover and bring to a boil. When water reaches a rolling boil, add small amounts of spaghetti at a time to the pot, breaking up oil patches as you drop spaghetti in. Return to boiling and cook to the al dente stage (about 4 minutes if fresh, 7 minutes if dry); do not overcook. During this time, use a wooden spoon or a spaghetti spoon to lift spaghetti out of the water by spoonfuls and shake strands back into the boiling water. (It may be an old wives' tale, but this procedure seems to enhance the spaghetti's texture.) Then immediately drain spaghetti into a colander; stop cooking process by running cold water over the strands. (If you used dry spaghetti, first rinse the hot water to wash off starch.) After the spaghetti has cooled thoroughly, about 2-3 minutes, pour a liberal amount of vegetable oil in your hands and toss spaghetti. Set aside still in the colander.

In a large skillet, melt 1 stick of the butter over high heat. Stir in the Meat Magic® and sauté about 10 seconds. Add the diced chicken and the tasso (or ham), and sauté 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add the green onions and cook 1 minute, stirring once or twice. Reduce heat to low and cook and stir 1 minute more. Add the remaining one stick butter and 1 cup of the cream. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the remaining 2 cups cream; continue cooking 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the cooked pasta; cook just until spaghetti is heated through, about 1 minute, tossing constantly. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Copyright © 1999 by Paul Prudhomme

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