Whenever I read a reference to Martha, I know it's referring to Martha Stewart. But whenever I think of Martha, I think Martha Nesbit, a Savannah food writer and author of one of my favorite cookbooks, Savannah Celebrations. I've reviewed this cookbook before but can't help sharing another wonderful recipe from it here. I know you'll love it!
At my house, we usually grill steaks or cook some shrimp on Saturday nights. But, sometimes, I like to enjoy my Saturday evening by taking my time and working my way through a rewarding recipe. I don't like to think of this as a time-consuming dish. I like to think of it as a time-enhancing dish. Sure, I could have taken some shortcuts and used a rotisserie chicken and cans of chicken broth, but I didn't. I wanted to feel the satisfaction of making a dish from scratch. Sometimes, you have to use three or four pots to make one casserole. You just have to! And, it's worth it!
1 (3-lb.) chicken, cooked & boned, stock reserved, or 3 large chicken breasts
1 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. butter or margarine, divided
4 tbsp. flour
1-1/2 cups half-and-half
1-1/2 cups chicken stock, reserved from cooking chicken
1/4 cup sherry
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 green onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
Salt and pepper to taste
8 oz. thin spaghetti noodles
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Simmer chicken in 4 cups salted water in a large stock pot until very tender, about 45 minutes. If using breasts, boil for about 30 minutes. Remove 1-1/2 cups stock and reserve. Save remaining stock to cook spaghetti noodles in. Remove chicken meat and shred into bite-size pieces.
Make cream sauce by melting 4 tbsp. butter in a small skillet. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Add half-and-half and stock slowly, stirring between each addition. Stir in the sherry. Allow to cook over low heat until thickened and smooth, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, saute mushrooms, green onions and garlic in remaining 2 tbsp. butter.
Cook spaghetti in remaining 2-1/2 cups stock, adding more water if needed so noodles can boil freely. Drain spaghetti.
Combine cooked noodles, chopped chicken, sauteed vegetables and cream sauce. Place in buttered 13x9 inch casserole dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover and refrigerate or freeze until ready to bake.
When ready to bake, allow casserole to sit out for 30 minutes to take the chill off. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until Parmesan is lightly browned.
My husband helped me out by chopping the green onions and garlic. I did buy sliced mushrooms. Also, here's another little secret about us - we don't like Parmesan cheese. So, I get the same effect by sprinkling the top of the casserole with dried bread crumbs and teeny tiny pieces of butter.
It's more than a meal; it's a memory!