YIELD: 12 servings
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2¼ lbs. chicken tenders, ½” wide
2 lbs. trimmed asparagus spears, cut into ½" slices
12 large sprigs fresh thyme
E¾ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. black pepper
1 lb. cooked sliced shiitake mushrooms
1½ cups dry white wine or vermouth
1½ Tbsps. minced garlic
3 cups heavy whipping cream
26 oz. (about 6¾ cups) shredded fontina cheese
1½ tsps. salt ¾ tsp. white pepper
2¾ lbs. dried orecchiette pasta
Grated American Grana cheese, as needed
1. In heavy-bottomed, large saute pan over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add chicken and asparagus slices with thyme sprigs. Saute, stirring, until mixture begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove thyme sprigs and reserve for garnish. Season mixture with salt and pepper. Stir in cooked shiitake mushrooms.
2. For fontina fondue: In a saucepan, bring wine or vermouth to a boil. Add garlic. Boil mixture until reduced to one-third cup. Add whipping cream and bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat; add fontina. Stir over low heat until cheese melts and mixture is smoothly blended. Remove from heat; season with salt and white pepper. Stir well before service. (If made ahead, refrigerate, covered.) Blend fondue into the mixture thoroughly and set aside.
3. Cook pasta in pot of salted boiling water until al dente, 16 to 18 minutes. Drain.
4. Per order: In a pan, heat 6 oz. cooked pasta with 1 cup fondue mixture. Serve in an elegant shallow bowl. Sprinkle American Grana cheese atop pasta and garnish with a sprig of reserved pan-roasted thyme.
Recipe and photo: BelGioioso Cheese, Inc.