Monday, September 29, 2008

Chicken and Spinach Penne

This meal was surprisingly fast and easy. We were a little frantic as we were throwing it together because we didn't have much time, but it came together quickly in the end, and it was quite yummy. It's another Chef Britta masterpiece!

Chicken and Spinach Penne
8 oz. penne pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced (Okay, I don't know how to seed tomatoes, and I didn't have time to figure it out, so I just diced them and threw them in. It worked just fine.)
4 T. tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. olive oil
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
6 c. baby spinach
2 T. fresh lemon juice (I just had the bottled kind, so I used it. Also, it gives a pretty strong flavor, so I'd put in a bit less than two tablespoons.)

In a large pot of boiling water, cook penne for 3 minutes. Add the chicken and continue to cook until both the chicken and pasta are done. I don't have much experience boiling chicken, so I had no idea how long this would take. I set the timer for 7 minutes (because the box of penne said it took 10-11 minutes total to cook), and it was done when the timer went off. Reserve 1/4 c. pasta water. In Chef Britta's recipe she didn't specify a measurement for the water. She just said reserve 1/4 pasta water. Since 1/4 of the total amount of water would have been so much, I just took some out and estimated when the time came. In hindsight, 1/4 c. to 1/2 c. works out well. Drain pasta and chicken. Return pot to stove and heat oil and garlic over medium high heat for about one minute. My garlic got pretty dark pretty fast. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, spinach and reserved pasta water. Stir to combine. Cook until spinach is barely wilted. I swear, this happens almost immediately. Our spinach was a little overcooked. Next time I'm going to just stir it all together and then add back the chicken and pasta immediately. Add the chicken and pasta. Add lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Toss and serve.

Here's the link directly to Chef Britta's recipe: Chicken & Spinach Penne.

Paul really liked this meal (and so did I). We were both surprised by the flavor. It's a quick and refreshing meal!

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