Sunday, July 7, 2013

Lemon-Basil Chicken Pasta Salad

Hello, World!  Sorry for the dry-spell.....we have been on vacation for the past two weeks. But, now I'm back in the kitchen and back in the blog-o-sphere, ready to share more recipes with you! Including this yummy pasta dish I found over at The Cafe Sucre Farine blog (a definite favorite of mine)

I made this cold pasta salad for my husband and mother and got rave reviews. I actually used whole wheat pasta (I know it doesn't taste as good as white pasta, but, the health benefits outweigh the slight decline in taste for our family). I also used sun-dried tomato paste instead of chopped sundried tomatoes and LOVED the way it turned out (I mixed the sun-dried tomato paste with the olive oil, chicken broth and lemon zest. Then I poured the dressing over the pasta and veggies). Finally, I used about 1/4 of the chicken she calls for. You can omit it completely if you want to make this a vegetarian dish.


Recipe from Cafe Sucre Farine:
16 ounces pasta, whatever shape you like. (I used Cavatappi.)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium shallots, finely chopped <I sauteed my shallots in a little bit of olive oil till they became soft; I prefer this to raw onion>
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and roughly chopped <I used 1/2 cup sun-dried tomato paste>
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
zest of 2 lemons
4-5 cups shredded chicken, you can use rotisserie chicken or left over grilled chicken. I roasted 3 bone-in, skin-on large chicken breasts and shredded the meat after cooling.
1 6 ounce bag fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
12 ounces tiny frozen peas
3/4 cup feta cheese
1 package sweet basil, chopped

1 cup sliced almonds
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. While pasta is cooking, place chopped fresh spinach and tiny peas in a large colander. When pasta is finished cooking, pour the steaming water and pasta right over the spinach and peas in the colander. Drain well.
3. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to mix. Taste and add sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.* Serve warm or at room temperature. Can be made ahead - refrigerate until ready to use and then warm on medium power in microwave to desired temperature. Do not overheat.
4.* For the almonds, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place almonds, butter, olive oil and sea salt in a small pan. (I use a cake pan.) Place in oven for 3 minutes. Remove and stir. Repeat this process until almonds are golden brown. Remove from oven and spread out on several thicknesses of paper towels to cool.

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