March 24, 2013

Pasta with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Spaghetti with Chicken, Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Garlic and Parmesan.

This is one of my go-to pasta dinners.  It has all of my favorite things and is really simple to throw together, and something that I can put together in about 30 minutes is really important to me. 

spinach chicken pasta

Very often my man works until 10 o'clock at night and has a 35 minute drive home.  I, personally, would hate having to eat reheated food alone every night for dinner, so I try my best to have a hot meal ready for him so that we can eat together.  So about 4 times a week we eat dinner very late, last night was no exception...


One of the struggles I am running into these days is photographing my food so late when there is no natural light. But I'm TRYING! I by no means am a photographer, I like to think that if I'm lucky enough to get a really good shot, it is all because of my iPhone or iPad and fiddling just right with Snapseed.  I don't really know what I'm doing.  And I'm sure that if my new neighbors ever looked into our kitchen at night they would think that a crazy lady moved in.  They would catch a glimpse of my makeshift lighting set-up, which includes an office floor lamp that has an adjustable light and another lamp that is missing its shade that I am constantly moving around.  They probably always wonder why I'm standing on a step stool with an iPad in the middle of my kitchen in the middle of the night. 

fresh spinach

chicken breast

spinach sun dried tomatoes 

This dish is versatile.  I've served it with chicken, shrimp, crispy prosciutto, or no meat at all.  You can make it spicy like I do, or leave the red pepper flake out.  You can change out the veggies and pasta too! Broccoli, rotini, asparagus, farfalle, peas... Mix it up with your favorites!

chicken spinach tomato pasta

Spaghetti with Chicken, Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Serves 4

1 lb spaghetti, (I used whole grain)
4 chicken breasts (I like to buy the thin cut fillets or I am sure to pound it thin so that it cooks more quickly and evenly)
2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned (I prefer the dehydrated ones over the ones packed in oil, but either is fine)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
4 tbsp olive oil plus more for cooking chicken on the stove top
1 cup reserved pasta water
Italian seasoning
red pepper flake
salt and pepper
1/4 cup white wine, optional

Place a large pot filled with water on the stove on high and allow it to come to a rolling boil.  Add a good amount of kosher salt and add pasta.

Preheat a skillet large enough to cook the chicken over med-high heat.  Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and oregano.  Drizzle enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan and add chicken.  Cook until no longer pink, turning once.  Depending on the thickness of your chicken breast this can be anywhere from 8-12 minutes a side.  Remove from heat and cover with foil to keep warm. 

When the pasta is done, reserve about 1 cup of starchy pasta water and drain pasta.  Return empty pot to stove over medium heat and add olive oil, spinach, garlic and tomatoes.  Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flake to taste. I usually go for about 1 tsp of red pepper flake and add a small sprinkle for garnish.  Mix all ingredients together and cook until spinach is starting to wilt.  Return pasta to the pot.  Add a splash of wine if desired and up to cup of pasta water back into the pot until it is as saucy as you like it.  Sometimes I add a little more olive oil as well if I feel the pasta is a little dry.  Mix in Parmesan until combined and starting to melt.   

You can serve the chicken on the side, sliced on top or cubed and mixed in.  This pasta is even great served as a cold pasta salad the next day.


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