Mediterranean Pasta With Chicken. Photo
courtesy Urban Accents.
Doesn’t this pasta dish look more exciting than a conventional red-sauced plate? It uses vegetables to make “tricolor pasta” instead of pasta colored green and red with spinach and tomatoes.
Tricolor pasta—green and red plus white—looks appealing in the bag but typically fades when cooked. So try a more colorful approach with veggies!
In this recipe, color comes from red cherry tomatoes, purple kalamata olives and green spinach. If you want to use a red sauce, simply switch out the red tomatoes for orange or yellow varieties.
Whether you use a red, white or colorless sauce (e.g. olive oil), adding two, three or four vegetable colors to your pasta dish provides great eye appeal as well as more flavor and nutrition.
YEAR-ROUND COLORFUL VEGETABLES
While green ingredients are a given, look for ingredients from the other produce “color groups.” For reference with other recipes, we’ve included fruits along with vegetables in this list.
Green: edamame (soybean), herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, parsley), Granny Smith apples, grapes, green beans, green peas (frozen are fine), mesclun or other salad greens, olives, snow peas, sugar snap peas
Orange: bell pepper strips, carrots (baby carrots, sliced or shaved carrots), kumquats, grape tomatoes, mandarin wedges, mango, sweet potatoes (cubed or sliced)
Purple/blue: blackberries, blueberies, cauliflower, Concord grapes (seasonal), purple grapes, kalamata olives, kale, Peruvian potatoes, red cabbage red raisins (plumped in cider)
Red: beets, bell pepper strips, cherry tomatoes, dried cherries or cranberries, grape tomatoes, lady apples, mini red jacket potatoes, pomegranate arils, radicchio/red endive, radishes, red grapes/champagne grapes (currants), red onion
Yellow: bell pepper strips, golden raisins (plumped in cider), lemon peel, miniature pattypan squash, star fruit (carambola)
RECIPE: TRICOLOR MEDITERRANEAN PASTA
This Mediterranean Pasta With Chicken is an easy one-pot dinner, with a goat cheese-based sauce accented with sundried tomatoes, olives and Mediterranean herbs. It was adapted from Urban Accents, which used its Athenian Herb Dryglaze seasoning blend, which pairs sundried tomato with honey and thyme flavors.
Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 30 minutes.
Ingredients For 4 Servings
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 packet Urban Accents Athenian Herb Dryglaze, divided seasoning
1 pound penne, rigatoni or other medium tubular pasta
1 cup sundried tomatoes (not oil-packed), roughly chopped
5 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup Kalamata olives, sliced lengthwise and pitted
1/3 cup chopped arugula, parsley or spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
1-1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon dried marjoram
1-1/2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1-1/2 teaspoons dried minced garlic
For The Seasoning
Penne rigate. Rigate refers to the ridges, which help the sauce adhere. They give their name to rigatoni, ridged tubes. The difference between penne rigate and rigatoni and is the end cut: Penne (“quills”) are cut at an angle, rigatoni are cut straight. Also, rigatoni tend to be slightly larger. See the different pasta shapes in our Pasta Glossary.
1. BLEND the seasoning ingredients. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, for the pasta. As the water heats…
2. RUB the chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon olive oil and place in resealable plastic bag. Add the seasonings, reserving 2 tablespoons of seasoning for later use. Seal the bag tightly and gently shake so that breasts are coated evenly; refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. PREHEAT the stovetop grill pan for medium heat; spray with non-stick cooking spray. Cook chicken breasts, turning once, until cooked through and instant read thermometer indicates 170F. Slice cooked chicken breasts on angle. While chicken cooks…
4. COOK the pasta for 3 minutes less than package instructions. Add the sundried tomatoes to water and cook for 3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta; return the pasta and the sundried tomato mixture to the pot.
5. ADD the goat cheese, reserved seasoning and cup of pasta water to hot pasta. Wait 1-2 minutes, then stir gently to combine. Add additional pasta water if you prefer a saucier dish. Stir in the olives and sprinkle with the arugula/parsley/spinach. Divide the pasta among 4 plates and top with slices of chicken.