Chicken Pasta Primavera

19 Jun

Pasta PrimaveraSince springtime is upon us, I wanted to capture some of the seasonal goodness that is available either in your garden, or for us city folk, in the organic section of the produce department.  So, this week, I opted for pasta, filled and tossed with tons of veggie goodness.  The backbone of the pasta primavera, by definition, is both the pasta {genius} and vegetables.

{Gina’s Take}

I’ve made this dish many times in the quest for perfection and I think the recipe below captures it.  Mostly, the iterations are variations on vegetables, butter, and which type of milk would work the best.   The dish veggie prepworks well without the chicken or with tofu for a great vegetarian style option as well.    The crunchy veggies in the dish give off a delightfully fresh feel to the meal.  And for just the two of us, there are enough leftovers for dinner the next night…bonus!

If I wasn’t so busy, I would have made it with fresh pasta, but given the whirlwind of life, and taking a cue from viral sensation Sweet Brown – no time for that!

The two simplest ways to tackle this recipe is either with a food processor or a chop-fest the night before so you can execute like a pro when you are ready to make it.

ingredient prepcook the chicken

It also totally works with milk and an extra cornstarch instead of Half & Half, but you lose the subtle creaminess of the dish.  Speaking of the Half & Half and cornstarch – warming it seems strange, but warming and mixing it together prior to it hitting the pan makes it’s debut in the pan way less dramatic {read:  less splatter, splashing, steam, etc} and much less clean up for you later.

If you are wondering why you cook the chicken and set it aside…well, chicken breasts are pretty lean, so this method prevents it from drying out.  I have never tried it with chicken thighs, but I would still implement this technique.

cooking the veggiesfinal prep

Finally, when you add the chicken back in to the pan, you’ll notice it’s resting in it’s own juices.  I add all of it back – no straining.

And for a little gratitude, I must give thanks {and credit} to my friend Toni over at AC Ceramics who let me keep her fancy bowls on hand for this meal prep.  I’ve coveted them for a while, so I was so stoked when I got to bring them home with me to use.

{Pretty Little Tip}

Want to substitute in asparagus, broccoli, or another one of your favorite veggies?  Why not? Just factor in the cook time and add or chicken pasta primiverasubtract a veggie that suits your tastebuds.  Or – if you have some leftover veggies from last nights meal, you can add those in at the end as well, giving them just enough time to warm up.

 

Chicken Pasta Primavera
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1lb chicken breasts - cubed
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 3 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced and divided
  • 8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cup half & half, warmed
  • ½ Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 bunch of green onions, sliced
  • 4oz fresh spinach
  • ¼c Parmesan Cheese, plus 1Tbsp more for garnish
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 box of fettuccine, cooked al dente
Instructions
  1. Cube the chicken breasts, season with poultry seasoning, and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 Tbsp butter and add ½ Tbsp of garlic. Cook until the garlic becomes aromatic, about 1 minute.
  3. Then add chicken cubes. Cook chicken thoroughly over medium heat until done, then transfer to a dish, loosely cover with foil, and set aside.
  4. Add remaining 2 Tbsp butter to the skillet, let melt then add the remaining garlic. Cook for about 1 minute until it becomes aromatic.
  5. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until the mushrooms have released their juices.
  6. Then add peppers and zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, for ~2 minutes.
  7. Next, whisk together the warmed Half & Half and cornstarch together in a small bowl, and slowly add to the skillet. Continue to stir the veggies occasionally so they cook evenly.
  8. Let the liquid in the pan reduce slightly, simmering for about 3 minutes.
  9. Then, add the chicken back to the pan, add the scallions, and bring the pan back up to a simmer.
  10. Once simmering, mix in the Parmesan cheese and once it's incorporated, mix in the spinach and remove from heat.
  11. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  12. Serve over pasta.

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