Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Creamy Ricotta Rigatoni & Grilled Chicken
On a cool spring evening, a light and flavorful pasta really seems to just hit the spot. I have been experimenting with ricotta cheese and have discovered how absolutely tantalizing it is. It can be used in savory dishes that warm your insides, or to make sweet and fluffy pancakes that make it worth waking up early on a Saturday morning. For this dish, I chose to use the ricotta cheese as a sauce that I tossed my pasta and vegetables in. The key that I have discovered is that to adequately and successfully coat the pasta with this creamy sauce, you need to use a pasta that has ridges in it so that the sauce can stick to it. Rigatoni is not only a lovely noodle with ridges, but is perfectly bite sized and easy to pick up! You will love the flavors in every aspect of this meal on their own and especially when combined.
This dish made at least 3 servings, and since many nights I find myself too tired from work and not looking forward to making dinner, but yet not ready to give up and go through the drive through, I love having leftovers on hand.
16 oz. Rigatoni pasta
1 cup Ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups halved or quartered mushrooms
1 bunch of asparagus cut in thirds
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pinch Red pepper flakes
Pinch Garlic powder
Pinch Cayenne pepper
Garlic Pepper chicken seasoning
1. Cook your pasta in salted boiling water
2. Steam the asparagus (I have a steam basket that fits on top of my pasta pan which works wonders)
3. Combine Ricotta cheese, red pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt & pepper in oven-safe baking dish. Place in 200 degree oven to soften and heat through
4. Pan sear mushrooms and asparagus in pan seasoned with EVOO and spices
5. When pasta is al dente, drain, but hold aside 1/4 cup of pasta water to Ricotta mixture. Combine pasta and Ricotta, then add mushrooms and asparagus. Keep on Medium Low heat.
6. Season chicken with garlic pepper seasoning and place in the pan that was used to cook vegetables. Brown on each side until cooked thoroughly.
7. Serve with pasta and vegetables mixture on the bottom and place the chicken on top. Enjoy!