Tuesday, July 23, 2013

pasta estate stir-fry with brown rice pasta and baked chicken breast

We'll just call this "summer pasta" for short. I had a hankering for alfredo sauce and vegetables yesterday, after one of my pen pals was talking about pasta primavera on Facebook. I rarely eat pasta (as in, once a year, maybe, if you twist my arm) so when my honey came home he demanded to know who I was and what I had done with his wife. But after the first bite he declared it good and light. I myself was very pleased with it. You can't hardly go wrong with olive oil, lemon, and Italian seasonings.

I am not gluten intolerant per se, but I have noticed I feel better and my skin is clearer when I avoid wheat. Luckily there are plenty of options these days. I used Field Day Organic brown rice fusilli which was very satisfactory. The spiral shape is my favorite for collecting the sauce.

(Just FYI, I mostly post recipes here for my own benefit, so what follows is more casual method than strict recipe.)

For the chicken breasts:

Trim and slice in half through the thickness; lay in single layer on (olive) oiled baking dish. Melt & brown 1/2 stick of butter; add equal amount of lemon juice. Pour over chicken breasts. Season well with salt & pepper, or Italian dressing mix & pepper. Sprinkle generously with Italian herbs for crust. Bake at 325-350 for about 30-40 minutes or til done.

Chop and prep vegetables as if for stir fry:

1/3 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 broccoli crown
1 large carrot
1/2 red bell pepper
1 small yellow squash
1 small young zucchini
2 large button mushrooms
2/3 cup frozen peas (save out to add with sauce, below)

Melt butter & olive oil together in skillet. Sautee vegs, in stages, in the order given, til almost tender. Remove to bowl after each stage. Salt and pepper lightly if desired (although the butter and the sauce are almost salty enough, so be careful).

Start pasta cooking while you make the sauce.

Pseudo-Alfredo Sauce:

After vegs are removed from skillet, pour in:

1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 - 2/3 cup of grated parmesan and/or mixed parm and peccorino cheese
1 cup cream
1 cup half & half
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup white wine, (or a little more lemon juice and chicken broth, if preferred)
generous amount of black pepper
2 pinches ground nutmeg

Let simmer, stirring often, until cheese is melted and it cooks down to be slightly velvety. Throw in the frozen peas at the last moment.

Drain pasta and add to veg mixture in large bowl. Pour sauce over all. Top with fresh basil chiffonade, and more pepper and grated cheese if you like. Toss together, spoon serving into soup plate and top with sliced chicken breast. Would also be good with seared blackened shrimp.

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