Grilled Chicken Florentine Pasta

I have to say that I’m pretty happy about the fact that I don’t eat nearly as much pasta as I used to.  Considering at one point, about ten years ago, I ate pasta on a nightly basis (with nary a vegetable in sight), the once in a blue moon pasta I now have is all that more enjoyable.  I could very easily get back into a routine of eating pasta all the time but I actually like only eating it once in a while.  In an Italian restaurant, if I’m going to splurge on pasta, the first thing I look for is some kind of pasta mixed with veggies in a cream sauce.  It’s bad, I know, but it’s what I love when I let myself eat it.  This Grilled Chicken Florentine Pasta is a perfect pasta dinner, in my humble opinion, which can easily be made at home.

Milk, chicken broth and Parmesan cheese are cooked until thick and bubbly before being mixed with spinach to create a creamy Florentine sauce.  Chicken, which has been grilled, is added with freshly cooked linguine to the sauce to make a light pasta dish reminiscent of pasta alfredo.  This was such a simple pasta dish to make and can easily be made with any preferred pasta, any preferred cheese, or any preferred vegetable.  Instead of bone-in chicken, I used chicken tenderloins  but I think precooked rotisserie chicken would be a great quick substitute also.  A dish with such versatility is one that I can really get behind.  Because the creamy sauce is made with broth in addition to the milk helps to keep calories down without sacrificing flavor.  I used 1% lowfat milk instead of whole milk and I didn’t feel like any flavors were sacrificed.  If you are looking for a warm, comfort food pasta dish, try this!

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The ingredients:

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Prepare grill to medium-high heat.  Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill until internal temperature reads 165 degrees.

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Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain well; keep warm.

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Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add flour and garlic; cook until garlic is browned (about 2 minutes), stirring constantly.

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Add milk and broth, stirring with a whisk; bring to a simmer, and cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Add cheese, stirring until cheese melts.

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Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and spinach; stir until spinach wilts.

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Add pasta and chicken; toss to combine.

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Top with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Chicken tenderloins
  • 1% lowfat milk

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

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