As most of you know I’ve been on a slightly healthier kick lately, focusing primarily on chicken, lean meats and vegetables. Sometimes I struggle with finding interesting dishes to make, but here’s a dish that I made the other night that was an absolute home run… Pasta Primavera with sautéed chicken, topped with toasted garlic, lemon & parmesan panko. Let me put it this way, my wife and I were truly upset when we finished because we wanted seconds so badly!
3 Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast, cubed
1/2c All Purpose Flour
1tsp Ground Black Pepper
1tsp Garlic Powder
2tbsp Olive Oil
Ingredients (pasta & veg):
1lb Dry Pasta
3c Broccoli Florets
3c Plum Tomato, diced
2c Baby Portobello Mushroom (Crimini), sliced
2c Zucchini, diced
1c White Onion, sliced
3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1/2tsp Salt + pinch
1/2tsp Ground Black Pepper
1/2tsp Garlic Powder
1/2c Dry White Wine
1 1/2c Chicken Stock (I use low sodium)
2tbsp Unsalted Butter
4tbsp Grated Parmesan
2tbsp Olive Oil
Ingredients (panko topping):
1/2c Panko, unseasoned
1/2tsp Ground Black Pepper
1/2tsp Garlic Powder
3tsp Lemon Juice
3tsp Grated Parmesan
Ok, I know it seems like a lot but trust me when I tell you it’s really not that bad. This is not a hard dish to make.
First thing’s first, let’s get the panko topping done since it can be added at room temperature anyway. This way there’s one less pot/pan on the stovetop while everything else is going. You’ll need to be on your toes for this because panko can go from lightly browned to burnt in a blink. Heat a sauté pan on medium-high, add the panko and seasonings (not the lemon or parmesan) and cook until lightly browned, stirring regularly. Once browned take it off the heat and add the lemon and parmesan, stir well. Some of the panko might clump up a little when you add the lemon, just break them up with a fork. Set aside at room temp.
In a large bowl combine the flour and seasoning from the chicken ingredients and mix well. Add the cubed chicken and coat thoroughly. Heat the olive oil on high in a large sauté pan and add the coated chicken. Cook until browned then flip and repeat. Once both sides are browned reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for an additional 10 minutes, then set aside at room temperature.
While the chicken is cooking get a pot with salted water on heat for the pasta, but wait for my cue to start cooking the pasta.
Also, it’s time to get the ball rolling on the vegetables. I find it’s easier to make this in a large pot, but if you have a rather large sauté pan you could do that as well. Heat the olive oil on medium heat and add the onion and chopped garlic, along with a pinch of salt. Cook until they start to sweat a little, roughly 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high and add the sliced mushrooms, cook for 3 minutes stirring periodically. Add the diced zucchini as well as the salt, pepper and garlic powder, stir everything together and cook for 3 minutes. Increase the heat to high and add the white wine, cook until the liquid has reduced by a third. Reduce the heat to medium, add the diced plum tomato and chicken stock and simmer uncovered, stirring periodically.
Once the vegetables are simmering drop your pasta in the boiling salted water. Cooked for one minute less than directed on the packaging, then strain. Add the pasta and chicken to the simmering vegetable broth, increase the heat to medium high and cook for an additional 5 minutes. In the last minute add the butter and grated parmesan and stir in well. Plate the your pasta and lightly top with the toasted panko mixture.
That’s it, you’re done! A restaurant quality dish in the comfort of your own home, and trust me, your friends and family will be begging for more…
So let’s talk wine pairings. You do not want to go with a big red here, it would completely overwhelm the subtle flavors that you worked so hard to develop. Think medium to fuller bodied whites, or lighter bodied reds. Below are my recommendations…
Filippi Castelcerino Soave Classico 2012, Veneto, IT – Normally I’m not the biggest fan of Soave’s. They’re typically very aromatic and are very fat in the mouth with overt honeyed notes and little-to-no balancing minerality or acidity. The Soave’s of Filippo Filippi (yes, that’s his real name), however, are anything but typical. Filippi’s estate and vineyards are located in Castelcerino, which is the highest elevation region in the Soave DOC. The family has been making wine from these estates since the early 1900’s, but it wasn’t until 2003 that they started bottling under their own name. On the nose the Classico is very typical Soave, being super aromatic, but the palate is a completely different story. The wine is medium bodied, and while there are honeyed notes evident, there are also beautiful hints of grapefruit pith, white peach and lemon zest, framed by crunchy minerality and subtle acidity. This is easily the most complex, yet well balanced, Soave I’ve ever had, and at the price it’s an absolute steal. PP Score: 90 (Retail $13-16) *Certified Organic
Powers Chardonnay 2013, Columbia Valley, WA – Powers is one of the wineries that helped put Washington State wines on the map back in the early 1990’s. They are best known for their Cabernet Sauvignons (they were even named one of the Top 50 Cabernet producers in the United States by Wine Enthusiast), but they also make some truly delicious Merlot, Syrah, Malbec and Chardonnay. The Chardonnay is small production, with only 1,200 cases made for the 2013 vintage. The wine is a blend of juice from their Powers estates as well as a plot of vineyard they farm in Champoux Vineyard, one of Washington’s Cru sites. This is what I like to call an “everyone” Chardonnay… By that I mean that if you like Chardonnay, whatever the style or region, you will like this wine. There are substantial notes of tropical fruit, hints of citrus and nuances of oak, with a moderate density from partial malolactic fermentation that is balanced by subtle acidity and minerality. This is a surprisingly elegant wine for the price point. PP Score: 89 (Retail $10-13) *Practicing Organic
Bernabeleva Camino de Navaherreros 2013, Madrid, SP – Let’s face it, the Viños de Madrid DO has a bad reputation for wine, and rightfully so. A vast majority of the wines coming out of there are subpar, and most are of the jug variety. However, there is one small region in the DO which is the exception to that rule, and that is San Martin, found along the western edge of the appellation. San Martin is a small, hilly, higher elevation subzone of the Madrid DO. There are a handful of winemakers doing some pretty great things out there, and Bernabeleva is the best of them. The Camino de Navaherreros is their entry level wine, and one of the best kept secrets coming out of Spain. In fact, for years this wine never left Spain as it is in very high demand among the tapas/wine bars of Madrid, San Sebastian, Barcelona and Sevilla, and with only 3,300 cases made per vintage there was none left to spare for anyone else. International pressure finally won out though, and now a small percentage of their production trickles out of the country. Fewer than 500 cases see their way to the U.S. every year. The Camino is 100% Garnacha from their younger vines and sees nine months of aging in a combination of stainless steel and large upright wooden vats. On the palate the wine is bright and vibrant, with distinct notes of tart cherry, raspberry, blood orange, pantry spice and cedar box, framed by moderate acidity and grippy tannins that settle as the wine breathes. This is ideal as an aperitif, or with poultry and other lighter fare. PP Score: 92 (Retail $13-16) *Practicing Organic
Chais St. Laurent Chinon 2012, Loire, FR – The Chais St. Laurent wines are made by Foucher-Lebrun, a “Petit Négociant” specializing in wines from the Loire Valley. While many times négociants are frowned upon in France (although readily accepted everywhere else in the world), no one dares to speak ill of Foucher-Lebrun. They have been producing wines since 1921, and over the last 90+ years have developed relationships with some of the top growers in the region, from whom they source their grapes. The Cabernet Franc for their Chinon is sourced from the villages of Rivière, Beaumont-en-Véron and Savigny-en-Véron. The wine is extremely bright and friendly, aged entirely in stainless steel letting the fruit shine rather than fight for attention. On the palate you’ll find notes of bright cherry, tart raspberry, dried herbs and green bell pepper with subtle acidity and chewy tannins in the finish. They only make roughly 3,500 cases of the Chinon, so it’s not the easiest to find, but there are retailers online who you could purchase from if it’s not readily available in your area. PP Score: 87 (Retail $9-12)
So there you have it, my recipe, my recommended pairings. I hope you’ll give the dish and wines a shot, and please let me know if you do! As always, new content will be coming soon. In the meantime crack open a bottle of some small production deliciousness, sit back, and relax. Life is short, enjoy it!