Lesson learned: Ditch the boyfriend but not his mother's recipe

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Dear Lynne,

I burned all remnants of my old boyfriend along with his mother’s fantastic recipe for pasta with fall-apart chicken in a brothy tomato sauce. I don’t want the man back, but I am pining for the recipe. Nothing I do works. Can you help?

–Heather in Madison

Dear Heather,

I wish we were all as wise as you in knowing what to discard and what’s worth keeping.

I will take a stab at your pasta. Make a tomato sauce in a 5- to 6-quart pot. Do it with a sauté of onion in olive oil, then add garlic and lots of fresh basil. Cook that for a few minutes and stir in white wine. Cook that down a minute and add 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of tomatoes (canned are fine). Boil the sauce vigorously for 5 minutes. 

Then thin the sauce until it is almost soupy. Now add a whole chicken, gently simmering uncovered (to concentrate your broth) an hour, or until the bird is very tender.

Cool a bit, skin and bone chicken, and chill the meat in the sauce overnight. The next day skim off any fat and gently warm the chicken and sauce. Cook your pasta, toss it with the sauce and chicken, and enjoy without the baggage of the boyfriend.

-Lynne

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