Beginner's Box: Gemelli with arugula, mushrooms and chicken breast

Jennifer Mastroianni

Don’t panic, beginners. I know, the name sounds intimidating: Gemelli with Arugula, Mushrooms and Chicken Breast.

Here, we’ll shorten it to Yummy Pasta. See, not so scary.

Gemelli is just a fancy Italian name for short twisted pasta. Easy to find, easy to make.

Yes, the list of ingredients looks long. Not to worry. Scan it and you will find simple items such as pasta, salt and pepper. Don’t let the herbs and arugula throw you, either. Both are available in most supermarket produce sections, and maybe even in a friend’s garden. Ask around.

Don’t freak out over the instructions. This recipe takes just seven minutes to prepare, and 15 minutes to cook.

You can do this. And you’ll be glad you did. All these flavors come off like something you’d find on a restaurant menu. Bet it becomes one of your best-loved dishes. Serve with a favorite white wine, and be sure to toast your ever-blossoming culinary skills.


1 box gemelli (short, twist-shaped pasta)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, fat trimmed and diced

2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and minced

1 container (8 ounces) fresh button or domestic mushrooms, quartered

2 bunches arugula, washed, stems removed

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup Romano cheese, grated

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Bring large pot of water to a boil. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for five minutes or until slightly brown.

Add diced chicken breast and thyme leaves. Sauté for three minutes; add mushrooms and cook for an additional two minutes.

Deglaze pan with white wine (scrape up bits) and continue cooking until the liquid is reduced by more than half. Meanwhile, cook gemelli in boiling water according to package directions.

Add heavy cream to the chicken mixture and continue cooking until the liquid turns creamy and is reduced by half; season with salt and pepper. Toss in arugula to the skillet and cook until arugula has wilted down.

Drain cooked pasta; toss in skillet with the sauce and finish with the grated Romano cheese. Serves 4 to 6.

Recipe courtesy Barilla