roasted tomato + spinach + garlic + chicken pasta

November 06, 2012

Last year, my friend Kirsten and I were both on a sort of intense health kick at the same time. We would always talk about wholesome recipes and give each other ideas for meals. She made this pasta one day and I was lucky enough to try it,  because it might be my favourite homemade pasta ever. It's healthy, it's actually tastier than it looks, and it's so simple! She made it up with her mother and I have recreated it countless times. Full credit goes to her for this one.

Ingredients

1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 medium onion, minced coarsely 
4 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
2 handfuls of fresh spinach leafs, or more
about 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 - 2 chicken breasts, cubed
4 servings of your pasta of choice
salt and pepper, to taste
optional: grated pecorino romano or parmesan, for garnish 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees celsius. On a baking sheet or any ceramic ovenware, combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, and olive oil. The olive oil here needs to be excessive, because it's the base for the sauce. All the vegetables should have a generous amount of oil on them, and them more. If it doesn't look like enough for the amount of pasta you're making, don't be afraid to add more! Let it roast for about 20 minutes, until the tomato skin just start to crinkle. Time might vary based on cookware and oven.

2. Bring water to a boil for pasta, and follow instructions on your pasta of choice to make 4 servings. 

3. Using a pan, grill the chicken breast cubes until golden. 

4. Take out the vegetables from the oven, when ready, and add the grilled chicken and two handfuls or spinach (or more if you wish). Give everything a good stir to make sure it's covered with olive oil. Place back into the oven for about 5 mins. 

5. Strain pasta. Combine everything with pasta (make sure to get all the oils in the pan), and stir in gently letting the tomatoes release their juices. There should be enough olive oil + tomato juices here to cover all the pasta. The spinach should easily wilt at this point if it hasn't already. Add salt and pepper to your own taste. Since there isn't any spices or herbs, it's really important to add the right amount of salt and pepper - so if you don't taste the tomatoes and onions and garlic, add more salt! It will make all the difference with this recipe. 

Serve with freshly grated pecorino romano if you're feeling extra decadent. 
Note: this would still taste absolutely amazing without the chicken, if you're vegetarian or want something lighter. I can't even describe how much flavour is in this simple meal!


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