We were supposed to go out tonight but plans were changed and I had to scrounge something for dinner. I had remembered seeing this recipe on My Kitchen Cafe and fortunately I had most of the ingredients on hand. It was a nice light pasta dish with delicious garlic and lemon flavors and a hint of red pepper. I chose not to add the reserved pasta water because my husband doesn't care for cooked or "slimy" spinach and thought it tasted really nice and fresh that way. It is pretty healthy because it uses olive oil and it's another meal in one with your meat, pasta and veggies all in one. This is a great dinner for Spring and something you can eat for lunch and not feel guilty about.
Tuscan Garlic Chicken Pasta
adapted from Cook's Country and My Kitchen Cafe
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (this doesn't add spiciness - just the right amount of flavor)
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound penne pasta1
(5-ounce) bag baby spinach
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried
6 tablespoons juice from 2 lemons
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Meanwhile, combine garlic, pepper flakes and oil in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave until garlic is golden and fragrant, about 1 minute.Pat chicken dry with paper towels and cut into bite-size pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer 1 tablespoon of the garlic/red pepper oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat until oil is rippling. Add chicken and cook until well browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil.Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta to boiling water and cook until tender but still slightly firm (al dente). Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water. Drain pasta and return to the pot. Stir in chicken, spinach, basil, lemon juice, Parmesan, and remaining garlic mixture, adding reserved pasta water as needed (I skipped this part). Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.