I go through cycles of thinking it's time to 'healtify' my diet. There's something about these couple of weeks that's made me mad over veggies and fruit. I just can't get enough! Last week grocery shopping I stockpiled a whole trolley's worth and could barely fit everything in my tiny fridge.
The challenge was to transform said vegetables into something that Byron would actually eat. Keeping it vegetarian was thus out of the question. I came up with the solution of stirring a whole heap of greens together with pasta and chicken in a light creamy sauce. This kind of dish is hearty enough to satisfy most men but it's loaded with veggies and the sauce is only as bad as you want it to be.
I used Philadelphia Cooking Cream (the 'lightest' variety) because it's creamy but also savory and tangy like sour cream. I've had great success using it in both savory and sweet dishes.
Pasta Primavera with Poached Chicken
- 1 large chicken breast
- 2 bay leaves
- water or stock (I used water with some vegetable stock powder)
- 1 cup pasta of your choice
- 2 x zucchini, sliced
- 1 x squash, cut into wedges
- 1/2 cup of baby peas
- 1 red capsicum, seeds removed and sliced
- 250ml of Philadelphia Cooking Cream
- 2 tbsp whole grain mustard
- zest of 1 lemon
- salt and pepper
- parmesan cheese to serve
1. First, get the chicken going. Place the chicken breast in a pot and cover with water/stock. Add bay leaves and any other herbs you like.2. Bring to the boil on high heat then reduce the heat so that the water is just barely simmering. Keep cooking for 15min then remove the pot from the heat and let the chicken sit there for another 10-15min until cooked throughout. Shred and it's ready for use.
3. Stir-fry the veggies (minus the peas) in a fry-pan with a bit of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. I had to do mine in 2 batches because there was just that much vegetable. Leave them a bit crispy too. Set the veggies aside when you're done.
4. Cook the pasta to the manufacturer's instructions until just cooked. Set aside.
5. Heat the Philadelphia Cooking Cream up on low heat and stir in the mustard, lemon zest and some pepper.
6. Stir in the veggies, chicken, peas (if frozen, boil them first) and pasta until thoroughly coated. Season to taste.
7. Serve hot with some shaved parmesan.
This version of pasta primavera is so easy to do yet it's actually really tasty. I think that using the Philadelphia Cooking Cream keeps it light but creamy and gives it an awesome tangyness that works well with the fresh lemon zest. Alternatively you could try a combination of cream and cream cheese or sour cream.
I read about this method of poaching chicken online and it worked really well for me. The chicken breast was very tender and juicy when it came out of the pot. This was sort of wasted in the dish because it got shredded up and mixed into lots of sauce and pasta but still, it's a good technique to remember.