Cheese, cheese, I love cheese! I feel like singing it out loud while skipping through the cheese aisle at Whole Foods Market sometimes. They have an amazing cheese selection. And on this Foodie Friday, I get to share three cheesy items in one post:
- Whole Foods Market “Crack Heard Around the World” Event
- Chicken with Parmigiano Reggiano Mushroom Sauce recipe
- Whole Foods Market $75 Gift Card Giveaway!
Whole Foods Market’s “Crack Heard Around the World” Event
On March 8th, I got my geeky cheese fix by attending Whole Foods Market’s celebration of the “King of Cheese”: Parmigiano Reggiano. Each Whole Foods Market store around the country simultaneously cracked individual 85-pound cheese wheels. At my local Whole Foods, it was Tim versus Mari, who each tried to be the first to crack their 85-pound cheese wheel with special knives used by cheesemongers.
The battle was fierce, with both Tim and Mari working serious muscles to crack through those Parmigiano Reggiano wheels.
In the end, Tim cracked the wheel of cheese first. Mari cracked her cheese wheel soon after.
The real winner was the audience. We got to sample the fresh Parmigiano Reggiano! Have you ever had freshly cracked Parmigiano Reggiano? WOW, it is so fresh, especially if you get a chunk from the center with all of those delicious oils mingling with the nutty, crystalized goodness of the aged cheese. YUM.
Whole Foods Market cheese buyers travel to the Parma region to visit the handful of producers to select wheels based on the most appealing flavor profiles. Those wheels are then carefully aged 24 months to achieve the toasted, salty and nutty flavor, and subtle crystal-like texture that we cheese lovers crave.
In true Whole Foods Market fashion, there were other fantastic samples at the event, including a featured line of cookies and featured wines of Italy.
If you love Whole Foods Market as much as I do, you can enter to win a $75 gift card at the bottom of this post! But first: to celebrate this freshly cracked Parmigiano Reggiano, I decided to make one of my favorite dinner dishes and share the recipe with you.
Parmigiano Reggiano VS Parmesan
As a busy mom entrepreneur, I am a huge fan of healthy shortcuts. However, one shortcut I put my foot down on is with packaged grated cheese. The stuff in plastic shakers on store shelves? Don’t do it! Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is honestly a zillion times tastier, and there is a noticeable difference. Now, in Europe, the terms Parmesan and Parmigiano Reggiano mean the same, as anything labeled as being “Parmesan” cheese must be true Parmigiano Reggiano; here in the US, the term Parmesan is not regulated, and you may end up getting some random imitation cheese.
Since we’re here in the US, and most people are familiar with the general term of Parmesan, I’m using the term for this recipe. However, I do recommend using true Parmigiano Reggiano here. The difference in using the real stuff is amazing!
Chicken with Parmigiano Reggiano Mushroom Sauce Recipe
There are so many recipes in which I use Parmigiano Reggiano, but this Chicken with Parmesan Mushroom Sauce recipe is one that I make quite a bit.
You start with sauteeing chicken breasts and boiling the pasta according to package directions.
Once the chicken breasts are fully cooked, you remove them from the pan and then start making the sauce. For this, you’ll need mushrooms, cream, spinach, garlic, and dried thyme, tarragon, and sage.
Mmmm . . . mushrooms. Have I mentioned that I am the only person in my house who loves mushrooms? This is another reason I love this dish: when I make it, it is mine, all mine! :)
You simmer the sauce and then toward the end add the beautiful pile of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
And voila! I always add some freshly grated parmesan on the dish just before serving, and sometimes some additional fresh herbs.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4 ounces of linguine go with your gut on how much you want to use here
- 4 thinly sliced chicken breasts
- 1 large garlic clove minced
- 1-1/2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 cup chopped spinach
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano plus more to top each serving
- salt and pepper
- fresh herbs such as tarragon or thyme; optional
- Boil water in a saucepan and cook linguine according to package directions.
- Evenly season both sides of each chicken breast with salt and pepper.
- Add oil to a large pan and saute chicken over medium heat, about 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Remove chicken and set aside on a plate.
- Lower heat to medium-low, add mushrooms, saute for 1 minute, then add the cream.
- Add spinach and herbs, then saute for about 2-3 more minutes.
- Add 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano and swirl into the sauce.
- Return chicken to the pan and mix lovingly with the sauce and saute all together for another minute or so.
- Serve with the pasta, and top with more Parmigiano Reggiano and any fresh herbs (optional)
Whole Foods Market $75 Gift Card Giveaway
Now you can enter to win a $75 gift card to Whole Foods Market, good at any location nationwide. You can get a LOT of cheese with this! :) Deadline to enter is 11:59pm next Wednesday March 19, 2014.
Disclosure: this post is sponsored by Whole Foods Market. All photos and opinions expressed here are my own.