I made a really delicious dinner last night that I want to share with you. It was very simple, as most of my meals are in our current apartment situation, but the result was great. Feel free to add a salad or green vegetable if you so desire… and bread or a dinner roll is always a great way to stretch your dinner.
I started by marinating two chicken breasts in a mixture of a lightly sweet red wine (Boordy’s Chambourcin Merlot blend could work here), a touch of olive oil, some garlic salt, honey, and herbs de provence. I put everything into a plastic, resealable bag and left it in the fridge for the day. NOTE: I always place a plastic bag into a bowl if I’m leaving it in the fridge for the day so there’s no risk of mess to the fridge if anything happens.
I also reconstituted a half cup of dehydrated sun-dried tomatoes and sliced them to add to the pasta for flavor and color. This was easily done by pouring some hot water over the dehydrated tomatoes and then allowing them time to plump up before slicing them. Doing this early in the day (or even the night before) makes things so much simpler when you start cooking.
When I started cooking, I decided to toast some whole wheat pasta in garlic butter to add some flavor to the side portion of this meal. Rather than leaving the whole wheat pasta (spaghetti) whole, I chose to break it up into 2″ pieces so the garlic butter would have a better chance of toasting all the pasta. Once this was done, I added a handful of bowtie pasta and the sliced sun-dried tomatoes to the mixture and allowed the pasta to pick up some of the flavor before adding a few ladles of chicken stock and some red wine to cook the pasta thoroughly.
I then began cooking the chicken. I heated a touch of olive oil in a large skillet and sauteed the chicken breasts on both sides until they were nicely browned but not cooked through. I added the leftover marinade from the plastic bag and stirred up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. At this point, I could have simply left the chicken on the stovetop to cook (with the lid on), but I’m not entirely comfortable with the electric stovetop that I’m currently using so I chose to alter the recipe in mid-stream.
I pushed the chicken off to the sides of the pan and added the pasta/liquid into the pan. I then put the lid on the pan and popped it into a 350 degree oven to braise everything in the liquid until we were ready for dinner. Just before serving, I added a Tablespoon of soft cheese to round out the flavors of the pastas, sun-dried tomatoes, *and* the chicken. NOTE: Some of the bowtie pasta didn’t get all the way into the liquid and ended up a little crunchy, which is NOT something my husband enjoys. Make sure to keep stirring the pasta throughout the cooking process to make sure that all the pasta is cooked thoroughly before serving.
I really liked this meal – the difference in pasta shapes was fun to me and the chicken was flavorful and yummy. I’m not always sure how a meal is going to turn out when I start without any sort of structure, but this one was fun. Next time, I think I will adjust the flavors a bit and make sure that all the pasta is thoroughly cooked before serving… otherwise, this was a good one to repeat. The basics are all there… now to play with it…