Friday, October 25, 2013

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta

They always say that you eat with your eyes first, right?  Well this colorful Mediterranean chicken pasta is an excellent way to get more healthful veggies into your family with a big pop of flavor, colors, and textures!

It's true.  I DO cook a lot of chicken, so I like to find ways to make it different.  This flavor profile is reminiscent of the Mediterranean coast with spinach, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, feta, and olives.  If there is something else you think you'd like in here, add it.  If there's something you don't care for, leave it out.  Just have fun with this beautiful dish!

Click to Print Recipe

Ingredients: (4-6 servings)
  • 1 pound chicken breast tenderloins
  • Greek seasoning (I used the no-salt version)
  • optional - Feiny's veggie rub seasoning 
  • 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 4 tsp chopped garlic (about 4 large cloves)
  • 2 Tbsp shallots, chopped
  • 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 and store it in the refrigerator.  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 before beginning.  I have a great helper for this type of thing!  Remember, there's always some aspect of a recipe that the kids can help with!  My spinach didn't necessarily NEED to be chopped, but it gave Lily a sense of being needed and involved.  And this is just as important as any of the rest of the things you do!




Step-by-Step:

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.   The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator until you need it if you are making it ahead of time.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 Tablespoon chopped shallots
Allow them to saute until they start to become golden and soft.
Once the garlic and shallots are golden, add in the wine.  I keep some of these small individual bottles of wine just for cooking.  They are usually just the right amount for a recipe, and I don't have to worry about saving the leftovers.  They usually come in a 4-pack. 
1 cup of dry white wine (I'm using Pinot Grigio today)
In a measuring cup or bowl, stir together the cold chicken stock and corn starch to make a slurry.   The slurry will keep the corn starch from lumping up on you when you add it to the hot wine sauce.
2 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp corn starch
Add the slurry to the reduced wine sauce.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a medium simmer for about 10 minutes until it has thickened up a bit.  Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. 

chicken stock + corn starch slurry
kosher salt
black pepper
Strain the sauce and discard the garlic and shallots to complete the sauce.
I ended up with a little over 1 1/2 cups of sauce after the reduction, etc.  If you are making the sauce ahead of time, you can cover and refrigerate it now.
Here's the sauce!

Put it all together -
Season the trimmed chicken breast tenderloins liberally with Greek seasoning and veggie rub seasoning if you like.
Salt free Greek seasoning
To a black iron skillet (or a heavy skillet), let's start cooking the chicken.  Start by heating the butter and olive oil. 
2 Tbsp butter
You will want the butter and olive oil to become really hot so the chicken will start sizzling immediately.
2 Tbsp EVOO
Put the seasoned side of the chicken down first.  You can season the top side while the bottom is browning.  Choose the seasoning of your choice.  I have included a link to buy this one that is also salt free, but you could certainly use more Greek seasoning if you want to, or some other spice blend.
Feiny's Veggie Rub (link included)
Once you have the chicken in your skillet, DO NOT move them around until the bottom has developed a nice sear.  If they feel like they are sticking, that means they aren't ready to turn.  They should release when they are ready.  You can certainly use a larger pack of chicken, but I didn't have the whole family home the night I made this, so I cut down on the amount I used.

Saute until golden on both sides in butter and olive oil over medium high heat.  They will probably not be cooked all the way through yet.  They will be by the time we are finished.  If they ARE cooked all the way through, remove them to a plate and cover to keep warm so they won't overcook and dry out.
So here we have beautiful, golden brown chicken and the butter has become slightly brown, which gives is a nice nutty flavor. 

On medium heat, add in the other half of the chopped garlic and shallots.
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 Tbsp chopped shallots
Add in the sun dried tomato bruschetta (or sun dried tomatoes that were packed in oil).
1/4 cup sun dried tomato bruschetta

Add in about half a cup of the garlic wine sauce.
The sauce acts to deglaze the pan - it's picking up all those yummy brown bits from the bottom of the pan, which gives us TONS of flavor!

Add in the butter and half of the feta cheese.   The butter will make the sauce really silky.  The feta will melt into the sauce and give us a tangy flavor characteristic of the Mediterranean flavor profile.
4 Tbsp butter

Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.
kosher salt
black pepper

Stir in the chopped spinach and drained noodles.   The spinach will cook down in less than 2 minutes, that's why we are adding it just at the end.  And the pasta is already cooked.  It just needs to be warmed through.
2 cups fresh baby spinach.  Stems removed.  Rough chopped.
I added about 2/3 of 1 pound of penne pasta - cooked, drained, rinsed in cool water.
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, then garnish with the remaining feta, toasted pine nuts, and sliced olives. The garnishes can be added to the whole pot, or to each bowl as you serve it.
Tip - to dry toast the pine nuts, just a nice handful to a small skillet and toast them on the stove top until they are nice and golden, moving them around as you go.



I hope you have enjoyed this recipe!  There are many, many more recipes on my Recipe Index, just click on over there and check it out!

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Here are some bonus recipes:
Pumpkin Upside Down Cake

Jack-o-Lantern Chicken Pot Pies

Grilled Chicken-Sesame Chicken Salad

Sesame Shrimp and Asparagus Stir-Fry

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Garlic Aioli

Honey Maple Granola

Shrimp and Corn Soup

Written Method:
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.

Put it all together -
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.  They will probably not be cooked all the way through yet.  They will be by the time we are finished.  If they ARE cooked all the way through, 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.

8 comments:

  1. This recipe sounds amazing! I noticed the shallots are not in the ingredient list, though. I was able to see the amounts needed by looking through the steps, but I thought I would let you know!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh THANK YOU! I'll jump back up there. I appreciate it!

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  2. Wow, I love everything about this entree, including your step-by-step guidance! Great post!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Dan!!! I appreciate the compliment!

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  3. Looks delicious! My name is Heather and I have a question about your blog! Please email me at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. This was fabulous! My 18 year old college student daughter found it and sent me the link, requesting it for supper. We loved it and now I want to try some of your other recipes! I'm a Louisiana girl, as well!!

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  5. Had this for dinner tonight, delicious! Thanks!
    Karee

    ReplyDelete
  6. thanks for sharing this great chiken pasta with as

    i wloud love to share it with my blog readres

    ReplyDelete

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