I adore this recipe in the summer. It can be eaten hot or cold, and it's so rich and tasty and actually quite healthy!! It looks like a lot of ingredients, but for me it's mostly things I keep on hand.
Chicken + Marinade:
- ¼ C. balsamic vinegar
- 2T EVOO
- 1t. dried basil
- 1/2t. dried parsley
- 1/2t. garlic powder
- 1/4t. salt
- 1/4t. black pepper
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1" pieces
- 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1" pieces
- 12oz package (or about 2 big handfuls) green beans, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
- 12oz package (or about 3 big handfuls) snow peas, trimmed, strings off, and snapped in half
- 1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced thickly
- 1 yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and sliced thickly
- 2 big handfuls baby carrots (about 3 big ones) cut in half lengthwise then sliced lengthwise, paper thin
- 3T EVOO
- 1T italian seasoning
- 1t garlic powder
- 1t onion powder
- 1/4t crushed red pepper flakes (if desired)
The rest of the recipe:
- about 8-10 oz. Whole Wheat tube pasta (ziti, penne, rogatoni, etc)
- 1T butter
- 2T EVOO
- lots of fresh parm for sprinkling
Mix together marinade ingredients in a 1qt. zipper bag. Slice chicken thinly across the grain, then into about 1.5-2" pieces (similar to fajitas). Place the chicken in the bag, squeeze all the air out, then massage the bag to distribute the herbs and sauce evenly through the chicken. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but chicken can be made a full day ahead of time, if needed. If you need more liquid to cover the chicken, add more Balsamic.
Heat the oven to 375. Cut all the veggies, and place in your biggest mixing bowl. Add all the spices and toss well to coat. You can sub pretty much any veg - I think asparagus would be a nice addition. The idea is to make them all around the same size so they'll be done at the same time. Hard veggies (carrots) need to be smaller so they are done when the soft veggies (snow peas & squash) are.
Pour all the veggies on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Toss well and roast 15 more, or until green beans are fork-tender (everything else will be done by then).
When veggies are done, pour back into the large mixing bowl.
While veggies are roasting, start a pot of water for the pasta, and cook the chicken in the BIGGEST skillet you own. I use a 14" cast-iron skillet. Cook the pasta for 1 min LESS than the package directs - you want it to have a bit of bite left. Drain the pasta and wait for the chicken to be done.
Add the cooked chicken to your mixing bowl. In the chicken skillet, melt 1T butter and 2T EVOO. The EVOO will help to keep the butter from burning. Pour all the pasta into the skillet, toss quickly to coat, then allow to cook for a minute. (if you have to use a smaller skillet, only add ½ the oils and ½ the pasta, then repeat) Toss the pasta by scraping the bottom firmly with your spatula - you want the browned bits to come up, and not tear the pasta. Regular white pasta won't hold up as well as WW. If you have a non-stick skillet, hopefully it will come up well - my cast-iron needs a good scraping.
When pasta is nicely browned everywhere, pour it into the mixing bowl with the chicken and veggies (finish the other half of the pasta if you need to). Pour over the remaining balsamic and lemon juice, then toss everything well. (I never measure the lemon or balsamic here - just shake from the bottle till it looks good!)
Serve sprinkled with fresh grated Parmesan cheese, and fresh cracked black pepper!
This recipe looks like a lot of work and a lot of ingredients. However, you can do almost all of it ahead of time, and it makes a HUGE amount! The 2 of us can eat it for 2 dinners and a lunch. The leftovers reheat very well, and are also awesome cold from the fridge like a pasta salad.
To prepare in advance, marinade the chicken and refrigerate. Cut and season all the veggies and refrigerate. You can even cook the pasta - rinse it in cold water so it stops cooking, then refrigerate. Then you can have all the mess cleaned up and all you have to do is cook and assemble before dinner.
Or, make the whole meal and refrigerate, and serve cold. Would be a great lunch or picnic food. You do have chicken to think about, but no mayonnaise to go bad if it has to be out of the fridge for a while.
For a more formal dinner, marinade the chicken whole then grill. Slice the grilled chicken and arrange on a platter and serve with the veggies & pasta tossed together as the side dish, with garlic french bread.
Marinade is awesome on whole chicken breasts and also AMAZING on grilled salmon! It's pretty much the only thing I put on salmon anymore.