Basta Pasta

  • February 25, 2015

I like to make this for friends or family, when I don’t really feel like cooking up a big meal and messing up my kitchen, but want to impress with yummy flavors, colors, and textures.

My favorite summertime pasta:

Using penne, farfalle, or torchietti
Chicken Breast grilled or seared in a pan w/ olive oil then finished in the oven
feta cheese
baby spinach
fresh cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
pine nuts
good tasting/high quality (expensive) olive oil
regular cooking (cheap) olive oil
herbs de Provence or Italian herb mixture
juice of 1 lemon
garlic clove finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

fresh grated parmigiano reggiano
cracked red pepper flakes
sauvignon blanc, white wine

Wash, salt, pepper, and rub the herb of choice on both sides of chicken breasts, marinade chicken breasts in the juice of half of the lemon, garlic, olive oil, and a splash of white wine for no more than 1 hour.

Pour yourself a glass of wine.

In a cast iron skillet, or oven safe pan, sear both sides of chicken breasts for about two minutes in a little olive oil. Place pan in 350 degree oven and cook until done (approximately 20 minutes). You can also grill breasts. You’ll know they’re done when juice runs clear. Remove from oven, place chicken on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Let the meat rest before cutting to retain their moisture.

Pour yourself some more wine.

While the chicken is cooking, cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente (or as you like).

In another dry pan, toast pine nuts on low heat with a pinch of salt, remove and set aside. Add olive oil to the pan and wilt the spinach, squeeze lemon juice on the spinach, salt and pepper to taste (don’t salt until the spinach has cooked down). Turn off the heat.

Strain pasta, toss into the spinach pan, and add enough good tasting/high quality olive oil to coat the pasta, add halved tomatoes to warm, not to cook. Cut meat into bite sized pieces, or strips cut on the bias, add to pan. Gently stir it all together and put into flat serving bowls or plates. Add crumbled feta cheese, and pine nuts. Finally, if desired add parmigiano reggiano and cracked red pepper flakes.

Pour yourself and your friends another glass of wine. Clearly, I like to serve this with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc, the citrus of the wine goes well with the marinade on the meat. Basta pasta, basta vino, enjoy!

Have a seat because you’ve had too much wine.