Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pasta with Chicken, Tomatoes and Feta

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 pound/box rotini (or some other short pasta)
2 cups cherry/grape tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese (6 oz)
1/2 c. pitted kalamata olives, halved
1/4 chopped fresh parsley

Pat chicken dry with paper towels, season with salt and paper. Cook in olive oil in skillet until browned and cooked through. Transfer to cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest 5 minutes, slice thinly crosswise and reserve.
Cook pasta until al dente in salted water. Reserve 1 1/2 cups cooking water, drain and return to pot. Stir in sliced chicken, feta, olives, parsley and 1 cup pasta water. The hot water will melt the feta and create a light sauce, so add additional water as needed. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

*Above is the real recipe, that I found somewhere on the internet a few years ago. I cut the chicken up beforehand and then cook it. Not as elegant, but much faster. Plus, with the extra chicken broth they inject into boneless skinless chicken breasts, you end up cooking the chicken in broth instead of actually sauteing it, so it doesn't end up browning very well anyway. Whole wheat pasta works great in this recipe, so because it doesn't generally come in a pound box I use 1 box. More veggies and less carbs is a good thing, right? I use more tomatoes than called for, if I have them, 1/8 cup dried parsley if that's what I have, and less feta if I only have a 5 oz container. I also sometimes use green olives, since they are cheaper and come pitted. Plus they're smaller so you can get away without cutting them in half if you want. They don't have the subtlety of the kalamata olives, but they still taste good.*

This is always a hit around here. In fact, it is essentially the same dish we ate recently at an Italian restaurant at the rehearsal dinner for a friend's wedding. It isn't exactly a quick meal, and it uses several pots. If I'm planning to make this, I have to plan on buying the ingredients, since feta, grape tomatoes and olives aren't regular pantry-stocking items for me. It is a good meal, however. Leftovers work fine, though the tomatoes do end up more cooked when reheated.

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