Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lemony Chicken Caprese Pasta

This is a little Amanda original, meaning I combined some recipes together to get my 'own' recipe. This is a quick, light pasta that you can totally customize to your own tastes. I typically go the caprese route- tomatoes, basil and buffalo mozzarella. I think it would be really great with fresh asparagus, peas, spinach and if you want a bigger bite some feta cheese. I might have to try some new combinations myself!

Lemony Chicken Caprese Pasta

1 lb chicken breasts, pounded thin
3/4 lb whole wheat penne pasta you can use any kind of pasta you prefer
1 tbsp butter
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp cornstarch
1/3 cup heavy cream
juice of a medium lemon
salt, pepper
Buffalo mozzarella
2-3 Roma tomatoes
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Put your chicken breasts in a gallon ziploc bag OR between plastic wrap.
Pound your chicken evenly and thin... this will ensure even cooking times.
Season chicken with kosher salt and black pepper.

In a lightly oiled pan (I use olive oil) cook your chicken. Resist the urge to flip or move your chicken around multiple times. Plop it in and leave it until you see the edges of the top side of the breast start turning white. Flip and then cook the other side until the juices run clear. There are few things worse (in the kitchen) than an over worked, rubbery, dry piece of chicken.
Put a pot on for your pasta. Once the pasta water starts boiling, season heavily with kosher salt. This is the only opportunity you will get to season your pasta. Add in about 3/4 of a box of whole wheat penne. Cook until al dente. If you are adding fresh vegetables, like asparagus or broccoli, to your meal, cook them along with the pasta in the boiling water.

While the chicken is cooking, in a separate bowl, mix the chicken stock with your cornstarch until all the lumps are removed. Dice your roma tomatoes and your buffalo mozzarella. You can also tear the mozzarella up into bit sized pieces.

Once cooked, remove the chicken from the pan to a plate to let rest.

Add the butter to the pan. Once melted, add the garlic. The pan is hot, hot, hot so let the garlic cook for less than a minute. Add the stock and cornstarch mixture. Make sure to stir up all those yummy brown chicken bits from the bottom of the pan.

Slice chicken into strips or bite sized pieces. Return to plate. DON'T get rid of those yummy chicken juices yet!

Bring the liquid to a simmer. Cook for about 2 minutes until you can see the mixture thickening. Add the cream, lemon juice, alt and cracked pepper. Stir and let combine for about a minute. If you are adding frozen peas or fresh spinach, I would add those to the sauce now.

Add the sliced chicken and all those delicious juices to the sauce and let combine.

At some time during all of this you should be casually checking on your pasta. Once it is done, drain it and put it back into the pot.

Layer the buffalo mozzarella on top of the pasta, next add the chicken with the lemony sauce and finally the diced tomatoes. Stir it all up and put a lid on the pot for a little while so the cheese will begin to melt. Usually I set the table and wrangle Emma during this time.

Serve yourself a nice heaping bowl and top with fresh basil and freshly grated parmesan cheese. It is important not to skimp on the quality of cheese, people.
I hope you enjoy as much as Emma does... I would show you pictures of Troy and I eating it, but it is not nearly as cute!

I mean the melty cheese is THE best!

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