Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Capellini with chicken and summer vegetables

capellini with chicken and summer vegetables
Today is the first day of fall, but the summer heat lingers around here. Which means we're still eating foods featuring fresh, summery produce. Like capellini with chicken and summer vegetables. It is my most preferred pasta to make when the weather is warm. Better yet, it's one of my all-time favorite meals, period. I love a light oil sauce on pasta paired with tons of fresh vegetables. If you do too, you must try this! It's basically a decked out capellini with tomatoes and basil. This version is more robust in flavor, precisely because of the added protein and freshly sauteed veggies. Technically, only the tomatoes and basil are summer vegetables, as broccoli and mushrooms are not, but they're all so tasty together in a light, summery smorgasbord kind of way. It's great with spinach too, and I'm sure a ton of other veggies you may have on hand. It's easy to throw together on a busy weeknight and simple to make for groups, especially when using grilled chicken or leftover rotisserie chicken that's already ready to serve. I'll be keeping this in our meal rotation until the stores are no longer stocking fresh basil.capellini with chicken and summer vegetables
Capellini with Chicken and Summer Vegetables (adapted from here)
1 lb angel hair or capellini pasta
3/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 lb mini pearl grape tomatoes, halved
2 oz fresh basil leaves, julienned
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 pkg (8 oz) white mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups grilled chicken breast, diced
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Extra julienned basil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

1. Boil a large pot of water. Add angel hair or capellini and cook for 2 minutes, or until al dente so that it is firm to the bite. Watch your pasta carefully as it cooks so it doesn't get soggy. Drain the pasta, and shock with cold water. Reserve some of the pasta water.
2. While pasta cooks, saute broccoli florets in extra virgin olive oil until bright green and tender. Set aside in a bowl. In the same pan, saute mushrooms in extra virgin olive oil until browned and tender. Set aside in the bowl with the broccoli.
2. In a large saute pan, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until slightly browned. Add tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 5 minutes, tossing occasionally until tomatoes are softened and slightly wrinkled.
3. Place pasta in a large serving bowl. Add sauce and Parmesan. Toss well. Add some reserved pasta water if pasta seems too dry. Fold in grilled chicken, broccoli, and mushrooms. Top with fresh basil and Parmesan. Serve immediately.

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