Two steps — boil and grill — lead to a meal with varied tastes and textures that the family will enjoy. From grilled chicken and fresh lemon to creamy feta and crisp asparagus, this meal is easy, flavorful, and healthy–especially if made with whole wheat pasta. I also like this dish because it was made from things we already had in the fridge, and because it is versatile, it is likely to work with what you already have at home, too. Martha’s version includes snow peas, mint, and shrimp; summer squash, eggplant, and basil would also make flavorful additions.
Vegetable and Chicken Penne
(Adapted from Martha Stewart, Serves about 4)
Course salt and ground pepper
13 oz. penne rigate
1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1-inch lengths
2 large chicken breasts
About 1/2 cup Greek dressing
4 ounces peas
1 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
4 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 gloves garlic, minced
4 oz. crumbled feta
Preheat grill to medium setting while boiling a large pot of salted water.
Coat chicken in dressing and season with salt and pepper; add to oiled grill. Wrap zucchini in foil and toss with 1 tbs. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Next, cook penne about 5 minutes less than al dente (check your manufacturer’s instructions for this). To the pot, add asparagus and boil 3 minutes. Add peas, cook 2 minutes. The pasta should now be al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water and drain pasta mixture. Return to pot.
Turn chicken and make sure it is cooking thoroughly; slice breasts horizontally if necessary. To pasta mixture, add 3 tbs. oil, lemon juice, garlic, and cup of reserved pasta water (water acts as a thickening agent because of the retained starches). Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Gently mix in feta, diced chicken, and zucchini. Serve immediately.