Sunday, March 27, 2011

Light Grilled Vegetable and Chicken Pasta

I made this recipe last year and couldn't find the original for the life of me! I tried to duplicate it this year and I think I did a fairly good job.  It was a beautiful evening in Dallas the other night...not too hot to grill (there were only be a handful of those evenings).  I opened a glass of wine, thanks to my friends at Ribera, and started up the grill.  Don't be confused...I will work for red wine.


-1 eggplant, cut into 1/2 thick slices
-1 tsp salt
-2 medium-size zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
-1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
-3-4 Roma (or plum) tomatoes
-1/2 red onion, cut into wedges
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-3 boneless-skinless chicken breasts
-2 Tbsp of grated lemon rind
-1/2 cup of thinly sliced basil
-1/2 cup of pasta water (make sure to reserve)
-6 ounces of spaghetti noodles
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-cooking spray
-1/2 cup Italian dressing (for chicken marinade)
-1 Tbsp garlic pepper (or garlic powder + pepper)

First, marinade your chicken with Italian dressing and garlic pepper in a large baggy for a few hours (or longer).  I actually froze my chicken, marinade and all, and just thawed it out the day I cooked my recipe.

Preheat your grill to medium-high

After you slice the eggplant, place in a colander and sprinkle with 3/4 tsp of salt and toss well.  cover with a paper towel and lets stand for 30 minutes.  This will help to remove any bitterness from the eggplant.  It's called "sweating".  After 30 mins, rinse with cold water and pat dry.

Meanwhile, start your pasta water and boil spaghetti according to package directions.  Don't forget to reserve some cooking water.  Return pasta back to the pot and drizzle with olive oil to prevent sticking.

Chop the remainder of your vegetables

Working with batches, grill your vegetables and chicken.  Eggplant, onions and peppers will take a little longer than the zucchini and tomatoes.  

Once your grilling is complete, bring the veggies and chicken back inside for a little chopping.  Cut up the larger pieces of veggies and chicken into bite-size pieces. 

Throw your veggies and chicken into the pot of pasta.  Grate your lemon rind and chop the basil.  Now add Parmesan cheese, 1/4 tsp salt, olive oil, lemon rind, basil and 1/2 cup of pasta water (maybe more) to the pot and stir!

Serve hot with a little basil garnish if you have any leftover.  This stays great in the fridge throughout the week as leftovers.  Just add a little chicken broth or water and Parmesan cheese before re-heating! 

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