Creamy Spinach Fennel Pasta + Mushrooms
Note: You can use mock or real chicken in this recipe. We used mock chicken. Please note that cooking times will be different for real chicken. Check chicken is cooked thoroughly all the way through before serving.
About 1lb chicken (mock or real), sliced into bite-sized pieces
4 tbsp sunflower oil, divided
2-3 baby fennel bulbs, thinly sliced, any larger pieces of the core discarded
1 med sweet onion, thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
80g mushrooms, chopped (I used cremini)
1/3 cup fresh parsley, washed and chopped, plus more for garnish
1 bay leaf
2 tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper, ground
1 tsp tamari
2 cups cream
½ cup uncooked orzo, rinsed under cold water for a few minutes
2.5 cups cup stock (I used vegetable), divided in two
100g fresh spinach
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
In an extra-large cast iron skillet, heat 2 tbsp oil on a medium heat.
Sear chicken slices for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently so they don’t burn. They should have a brown tone to them when finished. When finished cooking, remove chicken and wipe down pan.
Add the other 2 tbsp of oil and turn heat to low. Add fennel and onions and sauté for 10 minutes then add garlic and continue for another 3 minutes.
Turn heat to high for 1 minute. Stir in white wine vinegar and reduce heat to medium.
Add mushrooms, parsley, bay leaf, sea salt, pepper, tamari, cream, and ¾ cup stock. Place chicken back into pan, giving everything a stir. Reduce heat so your pan has a low simmer and continue cooking for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, add orzo and the other ¾ cup stock. Cook until orzo is done – about 20 minutes – stirring frequently. Add more stock or water if necessary.
Once orzo is finished cooking, turn off heat, remove bay leaf, and fold in fresh spinach. Salt and pepper to taste.
If using real chicken ensure it is cooked all the way through. If not, add more water and continue cooking until finished.
To serve, top with more fresh parsley and drizzle with some fresh lemon juice. Serve with crusty bread.