Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Penne with Chicken and Vegetables in Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce

You all know how much I love pasta and cream sauces. But those two things don't always fit into my plan to eat healthier and lose weight. Thankfully Jessica's recipe for Penne with Chicken and Vegetables in Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce combines healthy vegetables with a cream sauce made with milk instead of heavy cream. And it's delicious to boot.

I roasted the chicken and garlic in the morning and the house smelled fantastic. I couldn't wait for dinner. If you're able to prep all the vegetables in advance, as well as roast the chicken and garlic, this takes next to no time to cook. I made the sauce while the pasta cooked and then tossed it all together when SP got home. Baby Girl did eat one piece of chicken but the kid is such a carbaholic that the pasta was her main focus.

Penne with Chicken and Vegetables in a Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce
Very Slightly Modified from Sunny Side Up in San Diego

1 head of garlic - roasted with salt, pepper, and olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small-medium zucchini, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
4-5 button mushrooms, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for topping
1-2 chicken breasts (depending on how much chicken per serving you want), roasted and sliced
12 oz. penne pasta
Fresh chopped basil for garnishing

Preheat oven to 375. Cut the top off of a head of garlic to expose the tops of cloves. Place on a sheet of aluminum foil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Loosely wrap the aluminum foil around the garlic, pinching the seams to seal. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the cloves are tender and start to turn golden brown. Allow to cool, then squeeze the roasted garlic out of the cloves and mash with a fork.

While the garlic is roasting, drizzle the chicken breast with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and add to the oven with the garlic. Roast for about 30 minutes until cooked through. Allow the chicken to rest, covered with aluminum foil, until you're ready to serve, then cut into slices.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook penne until al dente then drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the milk and corn starch in a glass measuring cup, set aside. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and butter. Add the onion, zucchini, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring often, or until the vegetables soften and the onions are translucent. Season with a little salt and pepper. Add the roasted garlic to the skillet and mix into the vegetables.

Create a well in the skillet by pushing the vegetables to the edges, slowly stream in the milk/cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly. Work the vegetables into the sauce with the whisk then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan, then cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the sauce begins to thicken and coat the back of the spoon. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and stir to coat. If the sauce seems too thick, add the reserved cooking liquid a tablespoon at time until you get the desired consistency.

Top each portion with the sliced chicken, extra Parmesan, and fresh chopped basil.

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  1. This looks so good! I like your tip to prep ahead, I may try to do that and make this soon!

  2. Your pictures are gorgeous! I actually made this last night for dinner and we LOVED it. Of course, I used real cream. I'm hopeless! ;)

    1. Ha! I knew you'd use heavy cream. I'm a sucker for it but trying to be good. :)

  3. Ahh! I need to make this! I wanted it the second I saw it on Jessica's blog and now you're giving it all the raves :) I may need pasta 2x on my menu next week :)

    1. This is right up your alley. I'm curious to know the dietary breakdown.

  4. I was curious how this one turned out because it's right up my alley, too. Putting it on my list!

  5. Isn't this sauce great? I really loved it with the grilled chicken and veggies. You'll have to try that the next time you make it!! Your pictures are great.

    1. I bet grilling the chicken and veggies makes this awesome. I'll definitely try that next time. Yum!

  6. Ooo this has my name written all over it.

  7. So glad you liked it!! Your pictures are great! One thing I love about this pasta is that is so colorful. The healthy handful of basil on top looks amazing!

    1. Thank you for the great recipe and thanks for the compliments. :) It's a gorgeous plate of food, that's for sure!

  8. OMG! It looks great! I love it :) I'll try this recipe.


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