Okay, so today’s post is going to be a little boring. It’s not because the recipe is boring. Oh no, this Chicken Fettuccine with Pumpkin Tarragon Sauce is the tops. It’s everything you want on a blustery fall evening when you’re so tired you can’t even see straight. No, today’s post will be boring because, to be honest, there is no larger concept behind this dead simple pasta dish. It’s just carbs in a bowl with a freakin’ delicious sauce and some choice proteins. There’s no homey memory, no history lesson, just some good ol’ fashion pasta porn. And if you’re down for that, read on and if you’re not, scroll down – I’m not the boss of you.
For those of you who stayed, thank you. I wish I could say I’m rewarding you with something extraordinary but I’m not. The paragraph above is not a psych, it’s an honest-to-god warning. But since you stayed, I can tell you that today’s Chicken Fettuccine with Pumpkin Tarragon Sauce was not supposed to be a “blog-worthy” recipe. It was just something I made one night while I was noodling (get it?) around in the kitchen.
It all came about because I was bitter about a can of pumpkin puree that was hanging out in my fridge. Those cans, they’re just impossible to get through. Although this pasta did help me find the bottom of that can, I do feel like it is an issue that needs to be addressed. I made two pumpkin pies with the can in question. Two! There should have been no pumpkin left. Honestly, I don’t want to waste the food I buy and be a total asshole to the environment, but food manufacturers make it so goddamn hard. Like why? I just want to be a good person!
Phew! Ok, sorry that got emotional. I will, um, try to take it down a notch. Okay? Ok.
Anyway, so back to the stubborn can of pure pumpkin that was in my fridge. I only had an infuriating 1 cup of the stuff, so that severely limited what could be done with it. So, I thought, why don’t I just stir it into my trusty bechamel, pour it over some pasta and call it a night. I was definitely in a hurry to call it a night too. Homegirl was tired!
Okay, so this moment in my extremely engaging story brings me to the one educational moment in this mess of a post. If you don’t know how to make a bechamel sauce, learn it. I know fancy people bang on about the five mother sauces and whatnot but I swear you will use a bechamel sauce more than the other four.
Bechamel is a really good sauce to commit to memory because you can put just about anything in it and call it dinner. You can be a soup-can-less base for a bitchin’ casserole, you can pair it with some leftover pizza sauce and call it a rose, you can do whatever you damn please with this velvety creamy sauce. And it’s not remotely hard to make and it will teach you all about making a roux, which makes delicious things like gumbo so so possible. So yeah, learn a bechamel! You can use the recipe below or you can choose a more reputable source. Whatever you gotta do to get it done, just get it done. Cool? Cool. Okay, back to the nonsense.
The rest of what you find in this Chicken Fettucine with Pumpkin Tarragon Sauce is what I had in the fridge. The first time I made it, I was hellbent on getting my fridge back. It was crowded to the point of dysfunctional and when that happens I too become incredibly dysfunctional. So, I threw everything I could into my sauce and, well, it was amazing. I could not believe how good it was. It was comforting in its predictability, yet the tarragon brought a touch of complexity. The sweetness of the pumpkin was tempered by the Dijon in the bechamel. And the chicken breast, which I’m usually not a big fan of, had an almost palette cleansing quality to it. Basically, I had an unintentional, well-balanced hit on my hands.
So, here it is! In all its surprisingly glory! This Chicken Fettucine with Pumpkin Tarragon Sauce is not remotely ground-breaking. It does nothing to push the ball forward, nor will it challenge any of your pasta-related boundaries, which I assume you have. It won’t make you think or give you pause, it will, however, make you feel very very comfortable. Yes, that’s it! This Chicken Fettucine with Pumpkin Tarragon Sauce is the pasta-equivalent of a belly rub. And you know what? Sometimes that’s all you need out of dinner.
Thank you for wading your way through this exceptionally dull post. I hope you gleaned something from it, but I completely understand if you didn’t. Please don’t judge this Chicken Fettucine with Pumpkin Tarragon sauce on the merits of this post. It’s a damn good dish that deserves to be repeated ad nauseam.
Chicken Fettuccine with Pumpkin Tarragon Sauce
- 4 strips of bacon coarsely chopped
- 2 chicken breasts cubed
- 1 red onion quartered and sliced
- 4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 450 g 16oz dried fettucine
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup parmesan cheese shredded
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon finely chopped
- Parmesan cheese for sprinkling
- Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet and place over medium heat. Cook the bacon until very crisp, about 7 minutes. Remove the bacon from the skillet and place in a bowl lined with paper towel. Set aside.
- Add the chicken to the skillet with a healthy pinch of salt. Sauté until the chicken is cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet and transfer to a plate. Set aside.
- Next, add the onion to the skillet with another pinch of salt and sauté until softened. About 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté for 5 minutes more. Remove the onion and garlic from skillet and transfer to the same plate as the chicken. Set aside.
- Place a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Add a large pinch of salt to the water and add the pasta. Cook according to the package directions or until al dente.
- While waiting for the water to boil/cooking the pasta, make the sauce. Add the wine to the hot skillet you sautéed the meat and onions in and deglaze the pan. Melt the butter into the wine and whisk in the flour to form a roux. Whisk the roux until it turns a light caramel color and gives off a nutty aroma. Start pouring in the milk slowly, whisking constantly. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and whisk in the salt, cheese and mustard. Finally, add the pumpkin and whisk to combine. By now, your pasta should be ready.
- Using tongs, transfer your pasta from the water to the skillet with the sauce. Add the reserved chicken, bacon, onion and garlic to the skillet and toss to combine. If the sauce is too thick, add some pasta water to the skillet. Sprinkle the pasta with the fresh tarragon and remove from the heat.
- Divide the pasta amongst 4-6 bowls and garnish with additional cheese and fresh tarragon. Serve immediately.