Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chicken spinach tomato cappellini

It started the way it often does. I had a couple of thawed chicken breasts. I had a lot of organic baby spinach wilting away in the fridge. And then there were the luscious red ripe tomatoes calling to me, saying "Don't let us go to waste, either!" Food speaks to me, you see.

And as I often do, I made something up. Ingredients drive what limited creativity I have as I mentally group various potential additions, trying to find one that seems exactly the right fit for what I want to achieve for dinner that night.

This night, I felt the mood should be light. Something vegetably yet savory. Something with a bit of zing that would cling softly to a nice, lean pasta, like cappellini. So, that's what I went for.

When I cook, I don't measure, so the following is my best guess at what I did.

First, I put water on to boil for the whole-wheat cappellini I was using, and then...reader, I boiled it.

As Jamie Oliver would say, I started the sauce with a couple of lugs of olive oil, heated to a fine warmth, along with a couple of tablespoons of butter. It's all bettah with buttah.

Then, I added the chicken breasts, sliced into about half-inch pieces, and knocked in a few good dashes of oregano. After letting that sizzle up until the chicken was cooked completely, I tossed in tomatoes, letting them get to sizzle. Then came the spinach, lid on top to give it a good wilt, then stirred. With a nice wilt on, I added in the juice of a single lemon, some ground sea salt and ground pepper. For the finale, I sprinkled freshly grated Parmesan over the entire thing and heated it all through.

Pop this on top of the steaming toothy cappellini, add more Parmesan as needed and a good, crusty hunk of ciabatta, and you're good to go with a light, savory, satisfying bowl of food that won't make you feel terribly guilty. This was a fast, easy, and absolutely beautifully colored dinner to make, and it received The Viking seal of approval, high praise indeed.


  1. kind of meal! Simple, beautiful. I even have some GF cappellini on hand.

  2. So, Emily...Can you explain that whole wilting thing? I've always just sort of winged it (wung it?), but I don't really know how it's done RIGHT. Like...why put a lid on top? What does that do? Can you give me a little tutorial?

  3. The spinach seems to contain a lot of its own water, so that if you put the lid on, the water stays in and has a steam effect on it. Also, that means that you may not need to add any liquid to the recipe--but if it seems dry, add in a little chicken broth as needed.

  4. I have tried and tried whole wheat pasta but I just can't eat it. I tried multi grain and it was edible - just so I went back to good ole Ronzoni. Also for 1.15 Whole Foods has premade pasta and I freeze it until I need it and zap it. I bought my first ciabatta and loved it too much! I've been on a boiled ham kick (very very low fat and calories) and it made a great sandwich.

    I am slightly allergic to spinach so I only eat it at home (G)and I will try this recipe as it is low fat/calorie.