It’s a freezing cold day outside. And the chill makes you crave something warm, something flavourful and yet something healthy. What can be better than a scrumptious pasta dinner that is easy to cook and a feast for your palate?
Chicken and pasta make a fabulous and delicious combination. Both are easy to cook and are ideal when you are actually running short of time. In other words, chicken pasta recipes can be cooked at jet speed. There is another reason that I strongly suggest you try Chicken in your pasta recipe as opposed to other meats. Chicken has fewer calories and a lot lesser animal fat content as opposed to lamb, pork and beef. Yet, the yummy succulent chicken pieces dripping with sauce – wrapped up in a morsel of pasta cooked to perfection and left just al-dente – hits just the right spot!
Chicken goes well with almost any type of pasta or noodle; be it fettuccine, penne, fusilli or spaghetti. There is also enough scope for experimentation and adjustment of spices and other ingredients in most chicken pasta recipes.
So here is a look at 3 yummy recipes that promise to give you a lip-smacking bowl of chicken pasta delicacy.
1. Heart Healthy Chicken Pasta in Spinach Sauce
– Chicken breast sliced in to cubes – 250 gm
– Shell pasta – 250 gm
– Grated Parmesan – 1 cup
– Black pepper – 1/2 teaspoon
– Nutmeg – 1/2 teaspoon
– Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
– Chicken broth – 1 & ½ cup
– Olive oil – 2 teaspoon
– Fresh spinach – 500 gm
– Chopped garlic – 4 cloves
1. Cook spinach in a skillet containing chicken broth. Cook until it softens. Drain the spinach, strain and keep the broth aside. If you want a rough sauce, this should suffice. However, if you want a smooth consistency sauce, use a food processor to blend the cooked spinach and a few tablespoons of the broth to make a fine sauce.
2. In a large pan boil water, add pasta shells and cook until froths appear on the top. Drain the shells and keep aside.
3. Heat olive oil in a pan on medium flame. Add chopped garlic and sauté. Do not fry the garlic to the extent that it turns brown. Add cooked spinach (or the sauce). Sprinkle with black pepper, nutmeg and salt. Add chicken and the remaining chicken broth. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
4. Once your chicken is cooked and the sauce looks thick and creamy, add the cooked pasta shells. Stir and mix thoroughly, cook for 2-3 minutes for all the flavours to come through. Your heart healthy spinach chicken pasta is ready for serving!
Serving instructions: Top with parmesan cheese and serve hot with brown bread.
2. Mexican Style Chicken Pasta
– Salted chicken broth – 5 cups
– Minced garlic – 3 cloves
– Cumin – 1 teaspoon
– Chilli powder – 1 teaspoon
– Thoroughly drained canned tomatoes – 6
– Chopped Scallions – 4
– Large bell pepper (green) – 1
– Spaghetti or any thin pasta – 1 packet
– Boneless and skinless chicken – 250gm
– Olive oil – 2 tablespoon
– Chopped green chillies – 6-8
– Chopped cilantro stem – 1/2 cup
– Shredded cheese – 1 cup
1. Wash and chop tomatoes, bell peppers, scallions and set aside.
2. In a saucepan, pour chicken broth. Add chilli powder, 2 cloves of garlic and cumin and bring to a boil on medium flame. Add the chopped vegetables.
3. Now add chicken, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes on low flame. Take off the heat once the chicken has turned tender and the vegetables mushy. The liquid should have reduced and thickened to make a nice sauce that coats the pasta well but doesn’t make it too runny.
4. Cook the spaghetti as per packet instructions. In a heavy bottomed pan heat the oil. Add another clove of garlic and throw in the cooked spaghetti. Toss around till the spaghetti is well coated with garlic infused oil.
5. Add to the pan the cooked chicken and vegetable sauce, and add the chopped green chillies. Simmer for 5 minutes on a medium flame to blend all the flavours together. Your Mexican style chicken pasta is ready for serving!
Serving instructions: Garnish with chopped cilantro and cheese. Put the plate in the microwave (or oven) for the cheese to melt on top and serve piping hot.
3. Greek Penne with Chicken
– Penne pasta – 1 packet
– Butter – 2 tablespoon
– Olive Oil – 1 tablespoon
– Minced garlic cloves – 2
– Chopped red onion – 2
– Chicken breast cut in to small pieces – 250gm
– Canned artichoke hearts – 1 can
– Chopped tomato – 1
– Shredded feta cheese – 1 cup
– Chopped parsley – 1/4 cup
– Lemon juice – 1/2 cup
– Dried oregano – 1 tablespoon
– Salt and pepper to taste
1. Boil Penne pasta in a large vessel containing salted water. Check to ensure you remove the pasta from heat once al-dente, drain and keep aside. Do keep ½ cup of this boiled water aside, just incase you need more liquid for the sauce.
2. Place a heavy skillet on high flame. Add butter and wait for it to melt. To keep it from burning, add the olive oil. Add onion and garlic and stir fry until they turn pink. Now add chicken and sauté for 10-12 minutes. You will see the chicken turning golden brown.
3. Reduce the heat. Add chopped artichokes, chopped tomato, feta cheese, chopped parsley, dried oregano and lemon juice to the skillet. Further add the cooked and drained pasta. If the pasta seems too dry, add ½ cup of water you boiled the pasta in to make a sauce that coats the pasta well. Cook for about 3 minutes for all the flavours to combine. Season with black pepper and salt and serve.
Serving instructions: Serve hot with buttered toast
These simple to cook recipes pack a lot of flavour, and make for the perfect dinner on a cold wintery night. If you are also looking for some inspiration to cook a guilt-free three course meal menu to impress family and friends, this should help. Happy Cooking!
- Chicken Tetrazzini Recipe (mademan.com)
- Shells and Cheese with Cauliflower, Spinach, and Chickpeas (everydayfamily.com)
- Liven Up Your Taste Buds With Spicy Spinach Linguine (weightloss.answers.com)