Muscadine Chicken and Pasta
Makes 8 servings
1 pound muscadines, halved and seeded
1 (16-ounce) box cavatappi (or fusilli)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds chicken tenderloins
Coarse-ground black pepper.
4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1/2 cup chopped shallots
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
2 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons chopped chives
Puree the muscadines in a blender, and strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. Reserve 3/4 cup juice, and save the remaining juice for another use.
Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook to al dente, according to the manufacturer's instructions. Drain and return to the pot. Toss with 1 tablespoon butter and keep warm.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken, in batches, in the skillet until golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a platter and set aside.
Add the bacon to the skillet, and cook over medium heat until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain bacon on paper towels. Pour off fat, returning 2 tablespoons to the skillet. Add shallots and mushrooms, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sprinkle in the flour and cook 1 additional minute, stirring constantly. Stir in 3/4 cup muscadine juice, chicken stock, Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the chicken and juices from the platter, cook until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thickened and bubbling, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the heavy cream and cook 3 additional minutes. Pour the sauce over the pasta, add the Parmesan cheese and bacon tossing to coat. Transfer the pasta to a serving platter, and sprinkle with chopped chives. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.