Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta

In my family pasta is like gold.  Cherished, loved, truly and genuinely desired!  We really like it.  But with said love so fervent, it makes it a little difficult to come up with different ways to prepare it and I don't like getting a rut where I cook the same thing all of the time.

I came across this Mediterranean style recipe the other day and so we gave it a shot.  The savoy goodness of the sun-dried tomatoes coupled with the creamy feta was heaven!

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta
1 pound chicken breast tenderloins
Greek seasoning (I used the no-salt version)
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
4 tsp chopped garlic (about 4 large cloves)
6 Tablespoons jarred sun dried tomato bruschetta (or sun dried tomatoes in oil)
1 cup dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
2 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp corn starch
4 oz package of crumbled feta cheese
6 Tablespoons butter
2 cups fresh baby spinach, stems removed
1 lb cooked penne noodles, al dente, drained and rinsed
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
additional sun dried tomatoes
sliced black olives to garnish

Make ahead time savers! You can make the garlic wine sauce ahead of time. You can make, drain, and rinse the pasta ahead of time. Then when you want to cook dinner, all you need to do is cook the chicken and throw it all together. Also, get all of your veggies chopped.

Garlic wine sauce:
To a sauce pan, add olive oil, half the garlic and half the shallots. Saute them until golden brown, then add the white wine. Allow it to come up to a boil, then reduce by half, stirring frequently. In a measuring cup or bowl, stir together the cold chicken stock and corn starch to make a slurry. Add the slurry to the reduced wine sauce. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes until it has thickened up a bit. Strain the sauce and discard the garlic and shallots. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator until you need it if you are making it ahead of time.

Season the trimmed chicken breast tenderloins liberally with Greek seasoning and veggie rub seasoning if you like. Saute until golden on both sides in butter and olive oil over medium high heat.  Remove them to a plate and cover to keep warm so they won't overcook and dry out.
Add in the other half of the chopped garlic and shallots. Add in the sun dried tomato bruschetta (or sun dried tomatoes that were packed in oil). Add in about half of the garlic wine sauce. Add in the butter and half of the feta cheese. Stir in the chopped spinach and drained noodles. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.
By this time, the chicken breast tenders should be cooked through. Please don't over cook them. To finish, add in the remainder of the garlic wine sauce, and garnish with the remaining feta, toasted pine nuts, and sliced olives.
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