Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad

Ingredients:
16 oz uncooked Pasta (Rotini or Penne)
Water for Boiling and Steaming
Iced Water in a large bowl for Shocking the Broccoli
1 Tbsp Salt for Boiling
1 tsp Olive Oil for Boiling
2 cups Broccoli Spears, cut into small pieces
2 cups Pesto, room temperature
1 cup Black Olives, chopped
2 cups marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained, quartered
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
1 cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup Romano, grated

Directions:

  • Cook the Pasta in a large pot wit the Salt and Olive Oil. You want al dente. When you reach al dente, quickly drain and run cold water through the Pasta.
  • In a second pot, steam the Broccoli spears till bright green (about 4 minutes), drain and shock with ice-cold water.
  • Combine all ingredients except the Romano in a large bowl. Mix Well.
  • Sprinkle the top with the grated Romano.

NOTES: This is one of the simplest Pasta Salads you’ll ever make. I always make my own Pesto, since it is cheaper and yields more flavor than most store bought Pestos–that and some of the jarred kind is nasty-oily and looks like it was made from reconstituted dried herbs rather than fresh Basil. You can modify the ingredients based on your tastes for the Salad. Some folks may add fresh Tomatoes instead of the Sun-Dried, or cut up Mozzarella in cubes. Really, it is all up to you.

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Pollo e Carciofi al Vino Bianco – Chicken and Artichoke Fettuccine

Pollo e Carciofi al Vino Bianco

Ingredients:
4 Chicken Breasts, skinless, boneless, cut into strips
2 cups Marinated Artichoke Hearts, quartered
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 large Red Onion, diced
1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
2-4 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup Pinot Grigio or White Wine
1 Tbsp Basil, chopped fine
1/2 Tbsp Oregano, chopped fine
1 Tbsp Parsley, chopped fine
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Salt
2-4 Tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
1 lb Fettuccine (fresh if possible)
Water for boiling
1 tsp Capers for Garnish

Directions:

  • Strain the Oil from the Artichokes into a bowl containing the Chicken. Set the Artichokes to the side, but marinade the Chicken for 1 hour.
  • When ready to cook, begin heating a pot of water on high heat for the Pasta.
  • In a large skillet, combine 1 Tbsp of the Olive Oil with the Onions and Salt, and cook for 2 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add the Garlic, Crushed Red Pepper, and Chicken (with the Oil) and sauté until the Chicken begins to brown.
  • Add the White Wine, careful as it may flare up. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring well.
  • Add the Artichokes and Cherry Tomatoes and cook for another 2-5 minutes until heated through.
  • Add the Pasta to the water when it is boiling. Watch if you are using fresh Fettuccine as it cooks quicker than dried.
  • Strain the Pasta and toss with the Parmesan, Salt, Pepper, Herbs and the remaining Olive Oil in a large bowl.
  • Add the Chicken Artichoke Mixture, and toss well.

Makes about 4-6 Servings.

NOTES: So I had to come up with dinner at the last minute, and searched the cupboard and fridge for ingredients – the result was this dish. It is similar to Chicken Vino Bianco from Olive Garden (which I admit I did not know existed until I was trying to search for similar dishes to come up with a name for what I made), except that I add vegetables, do not use the large amount of Butter, nor did I batter the Chicken. Thus we find a healthier, lighter, dish that is still full of flavor.

Chicken Dijon Baked with Artichokes

Chicken Dijon with Artichokes

Ingredients:
1 lb Chicken Breast, skinless, boneless, butterfly-cut
2 cups marinated Artichoke Hearts, quartered
2 cups Table Mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Butter, diced
1-2 cups Bread Crumbs
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup Sauvignon Blanc
1/4 cup Milk
4-6 Tbps Dijon Mustard

Directions:

  • Pat the chicken dry, and coat with the Bread Crumbs.
  • Saute in a skillet with the Olive Oil on medium heat until browned on the outside.
  • Remove and set to the side.
  • Preheat Oven to 350°F
  • In a Dutch Oven or other baking dish, combine the Artichoke Hearts, Mushrooms, Garlic, Herbs, and Spices.
  • Dollop with the pieces of Butter.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the Wine and the Milk and then pour over the Artichoke/Mushroom mixture.
  • Cover with the pieces of Chicken, like a blanket.
  • Using a knife, spread the Dijon Mustard over the Chicken.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, covered.

NOTES: The use of Dijon Mustard with Chicken comes in various forms–some with a creamy mustard sauce, and others with a mustard rub. This Baked version allows the chicken to be steamed with the wine and herbs as well as allow the juices of the chicken and mustard to soak into the artichokes and mushrooms.

Variations:
Chicken in Dijon Cream Sauce

Chicken Castellina

Chicken CastellinaChicken Castellina

Ingredients:
2 grilled Chicken Breasts, chopped into bite-size pieces
5 oz Pancetta, diced
1 cup prepared Artichokes, chopped
3 Tbsp Capers, drained
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 cup Sun-dried Tomatoes, diced
2 cups Alfredo Sauce
2 cups Penne pasta
Water for the Pasta

Directions:

  • In a Sauce pan, brown the Pancetta.
  • Add the Capers, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Grilled Chicken, and Artichokes.
  • Saute for 3 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  • Pour the Alfredo Sauce in.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 10 mins, stirring to prevent burning.
  • In a second pan, fill with water and heat for Pasta.
  • When boiling, add the pasta with a dash of salt, and strain when pasta is al dente.
  • When pasta is finished, plate and pour the Sauce over it and serve.

NOTES: You can find this dish in most Olive Gardens, but I’ve added a twist with my Alfredo sauce and the addition of Capers.