Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pasta...The Ultimate Medium

Good evening everyone!  There is just something about spring and the feeling of fresh and new that inspires so many during this changing of the seasons.  I would include myself in this category: the strong majority of snow has melted and temperatures are finally above freezing.  Keeping that in mind, creating a fresh and clean dish was my main motive for this week's recipe and it definitely did not disappoint!

The Recipe:  Chicken, Bacon, and Asparagus Pasta Bake
Original Recipe Found In:  Quick Cook Pasta

What You'll Need:
2 Teaspoons Olive Oil
2 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
4 Bacon slices
11 Ounces uncooked Penne
5 Ounces Asparagus spears, trimmed and thickly sliced
2/3 Cup Sour Cream
6 Tablespoons Milk
1/4 Cup grated Parmesan Cheese, plus extra for topping

To start, preheat a oven to high broil.  While the oven heats up, place the chicken breasts on a clean plate and rub the olive oil over the breasts and season well with salt and pepper.  Place the chicken on a broil safe pan and place in the oven, cooking seven minutes or until golden brown.  Take the pan out of the oven and flip the chicken over and add the bacon slices.  Cook for another five minutes until the bacon is crispy and the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165 degrees.  Cool the chicken and bacon slightly and chop into bite-size pieces.

Meanwhile, heat a large sauce pot of water to a boil.  Once at a boil, add the uncooked penne, and cook to al dente, according to package directions.  Add the asparagus three minutes before the pasta is to be done cooking and cook until tender.  Drain the penne and asparagus well and return to the pan.

In a small bowl, mix the sour cream and milk together, then stir into the pasta.  Add the chicken, bacon, and Parmesan cheese until well combined and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the pasta mixture into a large, oven proof dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Place the dish in the oven and cook in a 200 degree oven for five minutes or until the cheese has melted and is heated through.  Serve and enjoy!

The End Result:

This dish was inspired by spring flavors and it showed!  The asparagus was cooked perfectly and enhanced the pasta by those last three minutes of cooking the two together.  I ended up shredding the pieces of chicken and it mixed so well together with the sauce and the pasta, it's hard to even tell there is chicken in the dish!  The sauce wasn't too heavy, yet didn't overpower the dish, which made it even better.  The bacon is definitely a nice addition also, with a bit of a salty bite and nice crunch that this recipe needed.  Overall, a great light pasta dish, that is suitable for any night of the week!

That's all we have for you this evening.  Check back tomorrow as Tyler hits the grill for the first time this year and has one heck of a delicious dish to present to you.  Until then,


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