Make it at Home – Michael’s on East’s Famous Bowtie Chicken Pasta
This is going to be our most challenging attempt yet!
There are a few iconic restaurants dotting the city of Sarasota and the surrounding area. You have no doubt heard the names before. Bijou Cafe, Cafe L’Europe, Euphemia Haye, Maison Blanche (ironically three of those places have just changed hands). Yes, we’re lucky here. We’ve got more than a few great places to dine.
One name that is always associated with that list of classic Sarasota restaurants is Michael’s on East (1212 S East Ave, (941) 366-0007). It is always either at the top of the list, or close to it, when folks fondly reminisce about their memorable Sarasota food experiences. That’s with good reason; Michael’s always delivers.
These days everybody is always looking for the next shiny object to chase. It seems like most people aren’t all that happy with the options that are available to them. They’re always chasing after the latest tech gadget, a binge-worthy series not to be missed, Or, (our specialty) the latest hot place to dine out. (We wrote a piece back in 2015 about the lifecycle of a Sarasota food frenzy. You can read it HERE if you’d like to.)
Thankfully, Michael’s has never been in the habit of change just for the sake of changing. They are innovative in their approach to dining, cuisine, and service. Through all of the challenges facing the culinary world, they have always stayed true to what has brought them one of the most loyal and faithful customer followings in Sarasota. They know the hospitality business.
It’s hard not to try and be the next shiny object. But it seems to have worked for Michael Klauber and Phil Mancini. Since they opened their doors in 1987, the restaurant has earned 32 consecutive AAA Four-Diamond Awards. Every Sarasota “Best of” list has included Michael’s on East at some point. And their commitment to our local charity scene has inspired other local restaurant operators to do the same over the years. Michael’s may not be the new shiny object, but they are a definite star in our Sarasota dining community.
So, when we had the opportunity to feature Michael’s on East’s famous Bowtie Chicken Pasta in our Make it at Home series, we of course jumped at it! This was really going to be a test of my home cheffing abilities. The restaurant is known for elegant dishes prepared by expert culinary professionals. If you’ve ever read any of our prior Make it at Home pieces you’re aware that I can at least make a proper salad and a respectable seafood appetizer. This will be the biggest test of my just above-average kitchen skills.
Here’s a little backstory on this dish that has been served at the restaurant continuously for the past 35 years.
Back In 1987, Michael Klauber was at odds with his new Chef, Charlie Brown. Chef Brown was the first chef at Michael’s on East. There was a debate on whether to include a pasta dish on the original menu for the restaurant. Anyone that knows Michael knows that he can be very persuasive and very persistent. During that first week in the restaurant’s history, he convinced his new chef to work with him on developing a new recipe for the young restaurant. The result of that collaboration was their Bowtie Chicken Pasta. 30+ years later, that same dish that the two had worked on together is still being served at Michael’s on East.
The Bowtie Chicken Pasta remains a favorite dish of their regular guests and the Michael’s on East staff. We couldn’t be happier that they are letting us share it with you.
OK, let’s take this thing for a spin! We’re going to attempt to make Michael’s on East’s famous Bowtie Chicken Pasta. (I think we’re going to need some luck with this one… Fingers crossed here.)
Michael’s Bowtie Chicken Pasta
½ oz Blended Oil
¼ tbsp Chopped Garlic
¾ oz Rendered Pancetta
1 oz Shiitake Mushrooms
4 oz Diced Marinated Roasted Chicken (recipe follows)
¾ oz Sundried Tomatoes
1 oz White Wine
6 oz Heavy Cream
8 oz Bow Tie Pasta
1½ oz Grated Parmesan Cheese for Dish, 1/2 oz for Garnish
½ oz Julienne Snow Peas
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1. Cook pasta until al dente, reserve
2. Heat blended oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Add pancetta, then garlic, and sauté until garlic is golden brown.
3. Add mushrooms, chicken, and sundried tomatoes. Cook for 30 seconds, then deglaze with white wine.
4. Add cream, then cheese, and cook until thickened. As the sauce thickens, immerse pasta in boiling water for 15 seconds to heat, strain, then add to sauté pan. Add Parmesan cheese and sauté until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
5. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then place in a pasta serving bowl. Garnish with julienne snow peas and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
INGREDIENTS – CHICKEN MARINADE
¼ tsp Powdered Ginger
1 cup Teriyaki Sauce
½ tbsp Sesame Oil
¾ tbsp Dark Mushroom Soy
½ tbsp Chopped Garlic
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
1. Marinate 8 oz chicken breast in chicken marinade for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Mark on grill, roast in 350 degree oven until moist and tender, about ten minutes.
3. Cut chicken into medium diced sections for pasta.
OK, first things first. Yes, there is a lot going on here. I’ll admit I read through this recipe about a dozen times before I attempted it. There really isn’t a ton of prep with this one (at least the recipe doesn’t indicate it.) But it is not for beginners. If you’ve ever been snow skiing here is something you might be able to relate to. This recipe falls somewhere between the blue square and the black diamond.
So, how did I do? Here’s how mine turned out…
I think I did OK. It tasted great. My kitchen, on the other hand, got the worst of the cooking process!
Of course, as we do with every one of these recipes, we went directly to the source. Here is how the trained professionals do it…
Here are some tasting, cooking, and plating notes for you
- Tasted delicious! Michael’s and mine were pretty close in the taste department.
- Their sauce is darker than mine, and that’s where the difference was. Their sauce tasted a little richer. And there is obviously more of it. I’m not sure how they get that darker color??
- Remarkably, we used the exact same bowls! I think that was just luck.
- When I ordered this at the restaurant, I sat at the bar. You can expect the same fantastic Michael’s service no matter where you choose to sit.
- PRO TIP: You can order a smaller (lounge) portion of this dish. This is a great option if you’re not completely starved.
VERDICT: YES, YOU CAN MAKE THIS AT HOME! *with reservations. Here’s the bottom line on this delicious dish. You can make it at home if you’d like. It’s going to turn out great. You’ll use every pot, pan, and utensil in your kitchen (see photo above).
If you want the full experience of enjoying Michael’s Bowtie Chicken Pasta, it’s probably best to have it at the restaurant. That way, you’ll get a delicious dish along with all of the fantastic service that goes with a visit to Michael’s on East. When I said with reservations, I meant you should probably make one!
A note (and a request) – If you own, or are a chef at, a Sarasota restaurant and would like to have your recipe featured in a future edition of Make it at Home, please get in touch with us through our Facebook page, our dineSarasota.com website, or send us an email. We want to cook your dish!!
COMING ATTRACTIONS: Next month’s recipe is a dramatic difficulty downshift. We’re making breakfast! A recipe from a chef that has started and run some of Sarasota’s best-known breakfast and lunch spots.