Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Garlic Spears with Pasta, Chicken and Sundried Tomatoes

So admittedly, I made this maybe two months ago and have been holding onto it for a time when I was low on blog fodder - namely due to my own vacation, my co-bloggers having taken a sabbatical and, well, just cooking for one a lot of the time. (No, I will not admit on here what those 'menus' sometimes entail, though suffice it to say, wine and bagels are high on the list.) 

Anyway, I made this when garlic spears were in season and now they are not - sorry. Some of you may recall that I attempted this awhile back and it didn't work {http://foodbloggers1.blogspot.com/2011/06/full-transparency-loyal-readers.html} but this second time it was a huge success. In the meantime, since you can't get your hands on these babies till sometime in spring, you can substitute asparagus and then just dump in loads of actual garlic and it will still be yum. Deal? 

For starters, I opted for boneless chicken breasts, sliced into thick strips which I then began to lightly poach in some chicken broth, adding in just a pinch of onion powder and garlic. After they began to turn white (so semi-cooked) I drained the broth from the pan and then added the chicken back in with enough olive oil to just coat the pan and about 2 tbsps of butter, plus salt and pepper. Let this cook for about 5-10 minutes, turning the chicken at least once and letting it sear a little. Then you want to reduce the heat a little, add 1/3 cup white wine (please make sure it is a DRY WINE!!!) and then another 2-3 tbsps of butter (to be honest, I am sure I added more to create the sauce, but I am also using light, olive oil-based 'I Can't Believe Its Not Butter', so choose accordingly, I'm not advocating Paula Dean gluttony here.) Let that all stew together and meanwhile, make your pasta (I used whole wheat penne).

Now, I also added some crushed almonds into the chicken and sauce mixture, but that is totally not necessary if you're not a fan. You can likewise add some breadcrumbs if you want, I just prefer the almonds. Once the pasta is close to done, the chicken is cooked and the sauce is resembling sauce, you want to place the garlic spears in the sauté pan with the chicken and sauce. To prep them all you need to do is trim the ends and rinse - the entire head and bulb is edible! Let these cook for maybe 5 minutes*. I mean, you want them to get warm, seep into the sauce and then that's it. Anymore than that and the garlic flavor begins to loose its bite and the dish will take on another taste.

*If you are using asparagus instead you'll want to cook it longer, so add it earlier in the process...though for that, more than 10 minutes and you'll have mush.

Lastly, I grated some asiago cheese on top and arranged the sun dried tomatoes as garnish.

- Melissa

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