Thursday, December 12, 2013

Vegetable Linguini with Chicken and Fresh Basil

This meal is easy and uses most of the ingredients you already have in your house.  It's also fairly cheap to make for a crowd.  It's light and fit, opting for a wheat pasta as opposed to a white pasta.    It's also--amazing.  Fresh Basil truly makes the difference.  If you don't like basil, you lose.

Are you thinking---wait what this aint paleo?  I know I know.  Let me explain myself. I am in the process of moving, which means I am also in the process of eating all of the food I have left in my house so it doesn't move with me.   Otherwise, cans of tuna, lean cuisine pizzas, pasta I never eat, etc. are moving with me.  What. A. Waste.

You may also be thinking (if your up ringing was like mine)--WHEAT PASTA??  I am not a huge fan of wheat pasta either.  But maybe one day while in the grocery store I thought I'd enjoy wasting money--so I bought wheat linguini.    I believe if you are going to eat pasta, you should go big or go home.  I believe white pastas like gnocchis (I've pronounced it "yon-keys" since I could say my first word), raviolis, ditalitini, and papardelle are the only way to go.  Writing that, gave me goosebumps.  God I love fat pasta. 

I make this solemn promise to you, my adoring fans:   
I will never disgrace homemade sauce and meatballs with wheat pasta. 
You can take that statement to the bank and write it on my headstone one day.  One time I ate it with spaghetti squash and it just felt wrong, dirty, and immoral.  I should have gone to talk to wooden Jesus after.

 Vegetable Linguini with Chicken and Fresh Basil
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves: 4-6

1 lb Wheat Pasta Linguini
1 lb chicken breast or chicken breast tenderloin, raw and diced
1 1/2 lbs large sized Cherry Tomatoes or Plum Tomatoes on the Vine, whole
1 yellow squash, sliced
1 green squash, sliced
1 Container Whole Cremini Mushrooms, sliced (do not remove or discard stems, quit wasting food)
8 Cloves of Garlic, Pampa Marinated with Spices (in the dollar section of ACME, or use garlic from the olive bar, or if you have no creativity just garlic)

Table Salt and Pepper for cooking
8-10 Basil Leaves
2 tbsp Pecerrino Romano Cheese and some for serving
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided and some for serving
1 tbsp Lemon Juice (fresh or refrigerated)

1. Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees.
2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil and place cherry tomatoes on top. 

3. Take a fork and stab each cherry tomatoes so they do not explode in the oven.
4. Pour 1 tbsp olive oil over the tomatoes, making sure to cover each.  
5. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper, about a tbsp of each.
6.  Place the tomatoes in the preheated oven for approximately 25 minutes or until they appear to have bursted open.  EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEEZY.
7.  While your tomatoes are cooking away heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat in a saute pan.
8. Place the chicken in the saute pan and brown on both sides for about 5-7 minutes adding salt and pepper in the amount of 1 tsp each while cooking (unsalted chicken might as well me dog food). When the chicken is done begin boiling your water for your pasta in a large pasta pot.

9. Once the chicken is cooked through and the chunks are no longer pink inside remove them from the pan and put them on a separate plate.  
10.  With the remaining oil in the pan saute all vegetables (minus the garlic) over medium high heat, for approximately 15 minutes.  When softened squirt lemon juice on top.

11.   Place the minced garlic in last, as to not allow it to burn.  Throw the chicken back in.
12. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.
13. When your tomatoes are done, place them with the chicken and vegetables on low heat.

14.  Sprinkle 2 tbsp of cheese over top and allow to continue to cook on low, stiring vegetables and chicken occasionally while pasta finishes cooking.  Strain the pasta when it is done cooking.
15. In a large serving bowl or individual plates nest some pasta.  Depending on how you are serving it, drizzle olive oil on the pasta.  
16.  Place vegetables and chicken over the pasta. Sprinkle with cheese for serving.  Place chiffonaded Basil leaves on top--let me teach you how to chiffonade...
                                                      1. Place basil leaves flat and in a pile on the cutting board with all  the stems facing in one direction.
             2.  Begin to roll the basil leaves together into one bunch.
           3. Cut the basil lengthwise across making little baby strips of  basil.

17. Sprinkle on top of pasta and SERVE.