First of all, this recipe has GARLIC and LEMONS in it, so it makes my heart smile 🙂
This recipe is being incorporated per a special request from my old roommate! Carrie and I lived together for years and we started learning how to really cook together. This was a favorite and a staple — and she has mentioned that she misses it!
So here it is, my friend, as promised!
This meal marries a combination of spices, veggies, a sweet wine sauce, tangy cheeses, whole wheat pasta, and some yummy bite-size pieces of chicken. The flavors blend together in such a way that you won’t be able to stop sopping up the sauce with some bread. It’s probably the perfect flavor balance. It is also a spin on a classic by my culinary goddess inspiration, Giada de Laurentiis. I modified it a bit, but it’s definitely inspired by her!
And it’s easy, quick, and good for weeknight meals. Clearly important to me.
Let’s party!! 🙂 <3
Wilted Spinach & Arugula Pasta w/Chicken & Tomatoes
- 1 onion of your choice, finely minced (I used a large shallot because I love shallots. Feel free to use yellow or white, too)
- 5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp. each of your favorite dried Italian herbs (I used rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme, and parsley)
- dash of crushed red pepper flakes (optional, as always)
- 1.5 pints of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 lb. of chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 c. white wine (preferably dry i.e. sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio)
- 1 bag of pre-washed baby spinach & arugula blend (I like arugula because of the peppery taste. If you only want to use spinach, perfectly fine! The Fresh Express blend is perfect and very accessible in major grocery stores.)
- 1/2 c. fresh basil, chopped finely or julienned
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 3/4 c. shredded asiago cheese (I used a blend of asiago, provolone, and parmesan because Market Basket makes quite a 3 cheese blend)
- 8-10oz. cooked whole wheat pasta, al dente (I like whole wheat pasta with this because it’s a little bit nuttier and adds a different dimension of flavor to the dish….regular good ol’ white flour pasta works, too, of course!)
- salt and pepper to taste (prob won’t need, but you never know)
~ Warm some olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Go a little heavier on the olive oil because you want to create the base of a yummy, savory pan sauce here. Once the olive oil is warm, toss in the onion and listen to the slow sizzle.
~ After about five minutes of the onion cooking and becoming translucent, add the garlic. Stir for about 1-2 minutes and keep an eye on the garlic so it doesn’t burn.
~ Add the salt, pepper, dried herbs, and crushed red pepper flakes (if you’re into that).
~ Add the tomatoes and allow the tomatoes to soften. Stir them around a bit and release some of their juices by pressing down lightly on them while stirring.
~ Toss in the chicken and allow the chicken to cook until it is no longer visibly pink. At this point, pour in the white wine and allow it to come to a boil. Lower the heat.
~CHANGE SPOONS at this point. No cross-contamination in this kitchen!
~ At this point, open the bag of pre-washed spinach and arugula and gently place it on top of everything in the saute pan. If you are patient, you can wait for the greens to slowly wilt. If you are impatient, toss a lid on the pan and quicken the wilting process. Same diff. Your call 🙂 Now, you can top the entire thing with the fresh basil and give the basil a minute to wilt a bit, too.
~ Allow this incredible mixture to simmer together for about 5 minutes, occasionally stirring to incorporate the wilting greens.
~ Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling water and drain it. Reserve a bit of the pasta water in case you need a little starchy water to thicken the sauce a bit.
~ Combine the pasta and the chicken/tomato/wine/spice/perfection mixture. Add the lemon juice and toss. Add the grated cheese and toss.
~ Top with additional cheese if you’re feeling feisty (or if you have a soul) and enter into a veggie/pasta/chicken heaven. All your daily servings (veggies, protein, carbs, dairy) in one bowl — look at that! 😉
~ I served this with some crusty garlic bread and it’s the perfect complement to this quick and delish meal. 🙂
A good addition to this meal could also be a can of drained and rinsed chick peas. I do that occasionally and the chick peas add a special crunch and funky texture. Plus, it’s extra protein, right?!?!?
Enjoy and thanks for reading!! 🙂