One Rotisserie Chicken, 50 Meals – #6 Pasta with Chicken, Vegetables, Oiive Oil and Garlic

Pasta with Chicken, Vegetables, Olive Oil and Garlic

Parmesan cheese (lots)
3 medium carrots
2 small zucchini

2 small yellow squash
1/2 red bell pepper, diced

4 oz mushrooms, rinsed and sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil for sauteing, 3-4 tablespoons for dressing the pasta
1/2 an onion, chopped
2 – 4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 lb cooked, drained bow tie pasta

One Rotisserie Chicken, carved off the bone, cut into pieces that match your pasta shape.

  1. Cook pasta according to directions on the package for al dente.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Cut carrots and zucchini on the diagonal into thin slices about 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Heat 1 T olive oil (preferably extra virgin) in a frying pan.  Saute the carrots and squashes for several minutes on each side until golden brown and caramelized.
  4. Add the onion, red pepper, mushrooms and garlic.  Saute for several minutes until the onions are translucent.  Add more olive oil if necessary to prevent sticking.
  5. Toss chicken into the pan and stir until the chicken is warmed through.
  6. Add pasta to the vegetable chicken mixture and stir to mix well.  Add remaining olive oil.
  7. Sprinkle with fresh basil and grated Parmesan.  Salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Top each serving with more shredded Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

 

It was hard figuring out how this dish started.  When the kids were little time was always limited, especially around dinner time when they needed to eat RIGHT NOW.  One night there was leftover spaghetti in the fridge.  It got tossed with some sautéed onion and garlic, topped with cheese and served.  Not only did the pasta get eaten, but the kids requested the dish again.  We had discovered a fast meal without resorting to fast food.

Over the years this simple meal evolved.  More vegetables got added.  The browning of the squashes came later, spurred by a memory of a dish eaten in some Italian restaurant a long time ago.  Chicken was added to make the dish more substantial and to take advantage of the cooked birds that every market started to prepare and sell.

TIPS – use a good quality extra virgin olive oil.  Add crushed red pepper in Step 4 if you want some zing.  You’ll need a nice loaf of bread and a salad to complete the meal.  Either red or white wine will work but if you choose red, get a lighter bodied Italian red like Bardolino.

One Rotisserie Chicken, 50 Meals – #4 Pasta Primavera with(out) Chicken

Pasta Primavera with Chicken

Grated Parmesan cheese (lots)
3 medium carrots
2 small zucchini
1 small head of broccoli florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 an onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 lb cooked, drained pasta (fettuccine, bow ties)

One Rotisserie Chicken, carved off the bone, cut into pieces that match your pasta shape.

  1. Cut carrots and zucchini lengthwise into thin slices. Add carrots, zucchini and broccoli to 1 inch boiling water in medium saucepan. Cook until crisp-tender.
  2. Drain; set aside.
  3. In the same saucepan add olive oil, onion and garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
  4. Gradually stir in broth, cream, grated Parmesan (min. 1/2 cup) and seasonings; simmer 5 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened.
  5. Add vegetables and heat thoroughly, stirring occasionally. Add pasta to vegetables and lightly toss.  Add chicken if desired.
  6. Top with more grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

 

Back in my 20’s I started making Pasta Primavera.  This was always the dish made to celebrate the bounty of fresh, seasonal vegetables during the summer months.  I recall using copious amounts of butter and heavy cream.  Low cholesterol and heart friendly were not in anyone’s vocabulary at that time.  Along the Path I came across a recipe called Pasta with Fresh Vegetables in Garlic Sauce on http://www.theculinarychase.com  It was the first time I had seen someone use a combination of chicken stock and cream in a Pasta Primavera type dish.  Over the years I began using chicken stock with half and half with good results.  Then I started tossing in cooked rotisserie chicken.  The kids ate it so I kept making it.

Tips – try different vegetable combinations.  Mushrooms and red bell pepper are a good addition.  So too are a handful of fresh spinach leaves. A dash of red pepper flakes will add some zip.  If you want less fat in your sauce, cut back on the half and half, increase the chicken stock.  Or if you want a richer sauce, more half and half, less stock.  Toss in a pat of butter.  This dish freezes well.  Don’t make the mistake of using a full pound of pasta.  You’ll end up with enough pasta for 8 people.  Depending upon the size of the chicken, you might need only a half chicken for this dish.