Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Healthy Pasta Primavera with Chicken

I recently started watching the Rachel Ray talk show. I had seen her on the FoodNetwork before but never her talk show. She made a lighter version of pasta primavera that didn’t use and cream or milk. I am always looking for healthier versions of meals that can avoid heavy cream sauces and this seemed to fit the bill. It was also full of vegetables and chicken for protein. It was surprisingly flavorful and thick despite no cream. My only complaint is that it used at least 3 pans and unlike her other 30 minute meals this one took a while. Be sure to allow at least an hour. I poached the chicken and started on the sauce to multi task, but to allow the sauce to thicken took me a longer than anticipated. Regardless, this was a hearty and healthy meal I would make again and this time I’d try to remember to put the peas in.

Pasta Primavera with Chicken
Makes 4 Servings


For the chicken:
1 full (2 breasts attached) bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, 2 to 2 1/2 pounds
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
1 small lemon, sliced
1 carrot, cut into quarters
2 ribs celery, cut into quarters
2 large bay leaves
Small bundle parsley, thyme and rosemary

For the Pasta Primavera:
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons butter
2 small or 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
1 small zucchini, trimmed and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
1 large or 2 small leek, trimmed, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced on an angle or chopped into matchsticks, washed and dried
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and white pepper or finely ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons flour
½ cup dry white wine
2 ½ cups chicken stock (poaching liquid)
1 box frozen peas, defrosted (optional)

1 pound egg tagliatelle (Fettucini)
A handful of parsley, thyme leaves and rosemary, very finely chopped
1 lemon
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

To poach the chicken, place chicken, onion, lemon, carrot, celery, bay and herb bundle in a pot, cover chicken with water and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes. Strain and reserve poaching liquids, cool chicken to handle. Remove skin and bones then pull meat into thin, bite-sized pieces using a fork.
For the sauce, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add carrots, zucchini, leeks and garlic, season with salt and white pepper, and sauté to tender, 6-7 minutes. 

Sprinkle veggies with flour and stir a minute more so it is not paste like or clumped. Deglaze pan with wine then stir in 2 cups reserved poaching liquid. Thicken to lightly coat spoon, add in chicken and peas, and reduce heat to low. (This took a while for my sauce)

Bring a pot of water to a boil for pasta. Add salt and cook pasta to al dente. Drain and toss with chicken and sauce, adding an additional 1/2 cup poaching liquid if pasta gets too tight. I did not need this since it was pretty thin.

Zest lemon and combine with finely chopped herbs. Juice lemon into pasta and serve in shallow bowls topped with gremolata and some cheese.

Source: Rachel Ray

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