Campanelle Pasta with Chicken Confit, Asparagus, and Tomatoes

Campanelle Pasta with Chicken Confit

It’s Daring Cooks Challenge post day! Our January 2011 Challenge comes from Jenni of The Gingered Whisk and Lisa from Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. They have challenged the Daring Cooks to learn how to make a confit and use it within the traditional French dish of Cassoulet. They have chosen a traditional recipe from Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman.

I haven’t been very daring lately and I couldn’t get motivated to spend three days making a cassoulet that my family probably wouldn’t love, so I decided to make the challenge (Emeril’s) Chicken Confit recipe and use it in Emeril’s pasta recipe that I knew my family would love. Emeril used pasta rags, but I substituted campanelle which is a fun cone shaped pasta with a ruffled edge. I used the infused olive oil from the chicken confit and diced tomatoes instead of grape tomatoes because it’s what I had on hand.

Campanelle Pasta with Chicken Confit, Asparagus, and Tomatoes

Ingredients:

Campanelle with Chicken Confit, Asparagus, and Tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups Chicken Confit, shredded (or substituted cooked chicken)
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, blanched and cut into 2-inch spears
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound campanelle pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling over pasta to finish
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus 1/4 cup, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives, plus 2 tablespoons, for garnish

Chicken Confit

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 4 cups olive oil

Directions:

Campanelle with Chicken Confit, Asparagus, and Tomatoes

In a saute pan, heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When the pan is hot, saute the shallots and garlic for 1 minute. Add the chicken and asparagus and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, stir to combine, and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Remove and drain. Turn the pasta into a mixing bowl. Toss the pasta with the extra-virgin olive oil and 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. Fold in the chicken, asparagus, and tomatoes. Add 2 tablespoons chives and season with salt and pepper. Place the pasta in an over-sized shallow pasta platter. Garnish with Parmigiano Reggiano, chives and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

Chicken Confit

Lay the leg portions on a platter, skin side down. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt and black pepper. Place the garlic cloves, bay leaves, and sprigs of thyme on each of 2 leg portions. Lay the remaining 2 leg portions, flesh to flesh, on top. Put the reserved fat from the chicken in the bottom of a glass or plastic container. Top with the sandwiched leg portions. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Remove the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and chicken fat and reserve. Rinse the chicken with cool water, rubbing off some of the salt and pepper. Pat dry with paper towels.

Put the reserved garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and chicken fat in the bottom of an enameled cast iron pot. Sprinkle evenly with the peppercorns and salt. Lay the chicken on top, skin side down. Add the olive oil. Cover and bake for 12 to 14 hours, or until the meat pulls away from the bone.

Remove the chicken from the fat. Strain the fat and reserve. Pick the meat from the bones and place it in a stoneware container. Cover the meat with some of the strained fat so that there is a 1/4-inch layer of fat on top. The chicken confit can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

The excess oil can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and used like butter for cooking. The tinge of chicken taste in the oil is wonderful and I use the oil to roast potatoes, cook green beans, and pan-fry veal.

Campanelle with Chicken Confit, Asparagus, and Tomatoes adapted from Emeril Lageasse, Food Network, Emeril Lagasse

A confit, in case you don’t know (and I didn’t), is one of the oldest ways to preserve food. It is essentially any kind of food that has been immersed in any kind of fat for both flavor and preservation. When stored in a cool place, confit can last for several months! Typically meats (most often waterfowl) are preserved in fats, while fruits are preserved in sugar.

The pasta was flavorful and delicious, but I think you could achieve a similar taste using cooked diced chicken and flavored olive oil. I didn’t care for the chicken confit texture. I thought it was too tender, almost the texture of canned chicken.

Thanks Jenni and Lisa for a really interesting challenge. It was fun to learn the history of the Cassoulet and a new preservation method.