Thursday, June 14, 2012

Whole Wheat Linguini with Chicken and Greens

I have a confession: This is the first time I have eaten "greens" in my life. As they aren't served many places in Southern California, I don't think I had even seen them before I moved to Alabama. I always wanted to try them, but to be honest, I'm not too big on the idea of  vegetables boiled with bacon, which seems to be how most people cook anything remotely healthy out here. I had seen Rachael Ray prepare pasta with broccoli rabe a long time ago, and thought it looked good. Serving with pasta and a light sauce certainly sounded more appetizing to this Italian girl.

So, when I did my grocery shopping on Saturday, I thought I'd try it. However, my grocery store doesn't carry broccoli rabe. I've heard Daphne Oz praise the health benefits and deliciousness of kale, but the store was out of kale. Same goes for escarole. They did have mustard greens and turnip greens. A lot of them. So I picked up a bundle of turnip greens.

1 large or 2 small chicken breasts
1/2 an onion
1 clove of garlic
zest of 1 lemon
2 TBS olive oil
1 bunch of turnip greens, rinsed. Leaves pulled off, stems discarded.
Salt & Pepper
Parmesan cheese, just a sprinkle on top
1/2 box of whole wheat linguini noodles
Pinch of chrushed red pepper, optional
fresh basil leaves, for garnish
I made this for dinner. That morning I put the chicken in a bag to marinade with a little olive oil, the zest of half a lemon, and some pepper.

As for the onion and garlic in this recipe, you can saute them as you prepare the meal, but something I like to do if I have a little time each week is finely dice a few onions and an equal number of cloves of garlic and let them caramelize over low heat. I store this in the fridge to use throughout the week, as it lends a wonderful flavor to so many meals.
First, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta just a minute shy of the directions on the box. While the water is heating, get out a large skillet and heat a tablespoon or so of oil. Brown the chicken. Remove the chicken from the pan. If cooking onions and garlic now, add them to the pan and saute until fragrant, add the greens and a 1/4 cup of water, sprinkle with salt. Allow greens to wilt. Return Chicken to pan, add previously carmelized onions and garlic, if using. Add drained noodles to the pan, toss to coat. Season. Serve with a sprinkle or two of parmesan and garnish with basil, if desired.

I really liked this dish, and I think I'll try it with a few different types of greens. I've done similar dishes with spinach, which has a less pungent taste.

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