I often experiment at dinner time. At 5:53pm, I’ll look at my watch and think, “Oh boy. What am I going to do for dinner? I have absolutely no idea. No plan.” After years of this routine I know that I need a few key ingredients to save the day. Do you know what I mean by a few key ingredients? When you get to the grocery store and think, “I forgot to make a list. What should I buy to get us through the week?” For me, these few ingredients include black beans, butternut squash, broccoli, and bell peppers. Without fail, if I have a bell pepper or two in the kitchen (preferably red), I can pull off something interesting.
Last night I pulled out my trusty bell pepper and knocked the ball out of the park. Here is what I created.
Penne Pasta with Peppers, Lemon, and Chicken
2 Tblsp. olive oil
2 Tblsp. butter
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine (cooking wine is fine)
cooked chicken breast (I used a breast off of a rotisserie chicken)
1 large red bell pepper, 2 inch long thin strips, seeds removed
1/2 cup heavy cream
peel and juice of 1 lemon
1 pound penne pasta (bowtie or rigatoni would also work
parmesan or pecoreno romano cheese
Start water boiling for pasta. In large saute pan heat olive oil and butter. Add garlic and onion and saute for a few minutes until soft. Add red pepper and white wine and continue sauteing. If your chicken is precooked add it here (I had a rotisserie chicken in the fridge and added one shredded breast).
If your chicken is raw, cut raw breasts into chunks and add before garlic and onion, toss in heat until cooked through then add garlic, onion, bell pepper and proceed.
Boil penne pasta until al dente (I always boil my pasta for 1 minute less than the box says, and it comes out perfectly al dente).
Grate lemon rind and add to chicken and peppers. Add juice from lemon. Finally, add cream and heat through. The cream you add should not turn the chicken and peppers into a sauce, but rather bind everything together in a creamy sort of way. Does that make any sense?
Toss cooked pasta with 2 Tblsp. olive oil. Place on platter. Add chicken, lemon, and peppers to pasta platter. Grate parmesan cheese over dish. Enjoy.