Thursday, April 16, 2009

Garlic Chicken Pasta with Spinach

At restaurants  I don't usually order pasta unless it is visibly soaked in sauce, even when the others on the menu do sound appealing, but I was in the mood for something light and fresh and flavorful and this dish was all of the above.  I didn't even regret not having my noodles drowning in a  red or creamy sauce.  This would be so nice for a summer evening dinner outside served with mozzarella and tomato bruschetta

Garlic Chicken Penne with Spinach
My Kitchen Cafe

6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, doesn't make it spicy just adds flavor
6 Tbs olive oil
2-3 chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound penne
1 5 oz bag baby spinach
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 Tbs dried
juice from two lemons
1  cup grated Parmesan, but I always add a little bit more when cheese is involved

Bring water for pasta to boil in large pot.  Meanwhile combine garlic, pepper flakes and oil in a small microwavable bowl and microwave until garlic is golden and fragrant, about 1 minute.

Pat chicken dry with paper towels and cut into bite size pieces.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer 1 Tbs garlic/pepper oil to a large skillet and heat over med. until oil is rippling.  Add chicken and cook until well browned and cooked through and remove from heat.      

Add I Tbs salt to pasta water and add pasta.  Cook until al dente, firm but tender.  Reserve one cup pasta water and drain pasta.  

Add pasta, spinach,basil lemon juice, Parmesan and remaining garlic mixture to chicken.  Toss until mixed and well coated.  Add pasta water as needed.  Salt and pepper if desired, serve immediately.

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