Ree over at The Pioneer Woman posted this recipe the other day and I knew I just had to make it as soon as I could! I was already in possession of a live chicken (by live I mean two frozen breasts, not my own of course), a box of penne pasta, and 2 lemons. Seriously for the first time ever all I've needed to buy for a recipe was fresh basil. So money. I love every single one of Ree's recipes, only trouble is she's liberal with both butter and heavy cream. I'm not hating, those ingredients in combination stop my heart and make my stomach sing! Well, make my brain sing. Stomach's can't sing. To lighten up this amazing recipe I used whole wheat penne pasta, cut out the extra fat by skipping the heavy cream and half and half, and topped mine off with a balsamic glaze. I just love balsamic glaze; I don't really care what the dish is, if there's chicken involved it's gonna get showered with glorious glaze. I didn't snap any step by steps because I cannot even begin to compete with Ree's fabulous pictures. Her writing style is so amazing she makes me pee my pants a little every time I read a post of hers. Seriously check out the original recipe; if you aren't worried about the ingredients then by all means use a lot of butta' baby! ;-)
Grilled Chicken and Lemony Pasta
adapted from Pioneer Woman, serves 2 (double or triple as needed)
- 2 servings of whole wheat penne pasta, about 1 1/3 cup
- 1 boneless skinless organic chicken breast, pounded thin and cut in half
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- about 1/2 cup skim milk, I didn't measure =/
- juice of 1 whole lemon
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or any white Italian cheese)
- salt + pepper
- garlic powder
- basil, chopped
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, while you're waiting on that begin your prep. Wash and dry your basil leaves and set aside. Pound out the chicken breast until it's about the same thickness throughout, cut in half. Both the pasta and chicken take the same amount of time to cook; you want the chicken breast cooked through on a nice moderate heat so it doesn't get charred or dry out. Season the chicken breasts on both side with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Place onto the grill pan (check out this post for how to make grill marks) and drop your pasta into the salted boiling water. When the pasta is cooked to al dente drain into colander and set aside. If you'd like you can reserve some of the cooking water for the sauce to help thin it out, but mine was the perfect consistency on it's own.
In the same pot melt down one tablespoon of butter and stir in one tablespoon of flour to make your roux. Once combined whisk in the milk and cover with a lid (optional). When the sauce has bubbled and thickened up turn off the heat and whisk in the Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, pepper, and chopped basil; set aside, keep lid on so the sauce stays warm. Toss the pasta with the sauce to coat. Plate along with the chicken, lemon wedges, additional basil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
In a small sauce pan (with a lid!!! this stuff is killer, it stinks up the whole house so try to have the fan on too) combine the vinegar and sugar and turn the heat up to medium. When the mixture begins to bubble turn the heat down to low and put the cover over the pot, not completely on though leave a little room for it to vent. What you're doing is cooking out the excess water so the sugars will concentrate and it will become thick and heavenly. It takes about 20-30 minutes. You know the mixture is ready when it can coat the back of a spoon; make sure you don't let it go too long, once it gets syrupy it's pretty much ruined because it will harden in the fridge. Let cool, store in a Tupperware container in the fridge for weeks.