summery chicken pasta

summer chk pasta

I AM BACK! Well, I’ve been back, but have still been recovering from vacation. You know how vacation just makes you more tired than you were before you went on vacation? Not only that, but it also sucked all the joy out of my regular life, as I don’t want to do anything except keep being on vacation.

Where you get to hang out on boats…

enjoy scenic views…

and hike through colorful canyons…

Anyway, since it is summer, and I had to be in a bikini, I decided to take a break from the sweeter things in life for a day and post this [ relative-to-what-i-usually-post ] healthful pasta recipe instead. Just a simple pasta filled with fresh veggies, lean chicken, and garlic. Lots and lots of garlic.  😉

I do variations of this pasta all the time with different veggies … no real measurements. But this should serve as a good “jumping off point” for you. It’s actually one of BF’s favorite dinners, depending on what I throw in, of course. A splash of cream and a bit of butter never hurt anyone, though you may want to skip those depending on how far away your bikini date is.

Summery Chicken Pasta

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 (1-lb) box pasta, whole wheat if you want to feel a little better about it
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (thin cut will cook faster)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup white wine (optional)
  • ½ cup (1 cup if you skip the wine), low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bag baby spinach (~ 6 oz)
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, I like to halve some and leave some whole
  • ½ cup loosely-packed basil, torn, plus more for garnish (if desired)
  • Splash of heavy cream (optional, but recommended)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons butter
  • Italian cheese – Parmesan, Pecorino, Asiago, whatever you’ve got.

Cook pasta in salted water per package directions. Drain and set aside.

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Bash your garlic cloves with your hand or a knife, you want them to be “broken” but not chopped or separated.

Preheat pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle oil to coat the bottom and add chicken, cooking in batches if necessary. Cook until done and transfer to a plate; tent with foil while you cook the veggies.

Add another drizzle of oil if necessary. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned. DO NOT let the garlic burn. Once the garlic is lightly browned remove the cloves of garlic and add your onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Sauté until translucent, then add your wine and cook until almost evaporated, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add your broth and bring to a boil. (Sometimes I throw my garlic cloves back in, just remember to fish them out again before you serve it).

Chop chicken to desired size pieces and return chicken, with any accumulated juices, to the pan.

Reduce heat to low and add spinach, basil, tomatoes, and cooked pasta to the skillet. Add a healthy dose of grated parmesan to the pasta. Throw in a tablespoon of butter and a dash of cream if you’re feeling saucy, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Toss until the spinach is wilted to your liking.

Serve sprinkled with extra parmesan and basil.

TIPS

  • You can also sauté bell peppers with your onion for an extra ‘punch’ of flavor
  • I like to drop a few strands of saffron into the broth while it boils as well
  • I also like to add half of my tomatoes while the broth is boiling so they burst and flavor the sauce, then the other half at the end so they are more “fresh”.

DIY roasted peppers

dsc_5302-e1326737962210Ah yes, ye olde bell pepper. This post may seem a little random at the moment, but this skill is necessary to complete my next post. So today, I give you a tutorial on how to roast red peppers. Don’t worry, it’s easy :)

Preheat your broiler or grill to high heat. If you’re using your oven, place a sheet of foil on the rack below the one you’ll be placing your pepper on. If you want the process to be faster, place it closer to the broiler. My short attention span tends to favor having the rack lower in the oven, so that my pepper doesn’t just turn into flames and smoke.

Take one (or more) beautiful red pepper(s) (or whatever kind of pepper you wish to use). Washed and patted dry. Then, rub said pepper with oil. I used olive oil. Place this now oiled pepper into your oven or onto your grill and cook until the skin starts to blister and char, rotating as necessary until all sides are done.

Remove the pepper and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Once cooled, uncover and peel the skin off. Don’t worry, it’ll come right off. Slice or dice into desired pieces and,  Voila – you now have roasted peppers!

Too lazy? Of course you could always purchase the pre-roasted peppers in a jar, but where’s the fun in that?

“BUT WHAT WILL I USE THEM ON????”

Um, everything? Inside sandwiches, atop pizzas, blended into soups, added to pasta or tacos or as part of an antipasti… the possibilities are pretty much endless here. You can even use any kind of pepper you want, here I used red peppers, but I’ve used poblanos in the past, hatch chiles, etc…