Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lemon-Basil Pasta with Chicken

I have a secret.

Pioneer Woman's recipes rarely work out for me.

I always want them to, I really do! I love reading Ree's posts. I try her recipes often. But most of the time, they're just okay.

It makes me so sad!

But, the other day, I tried another one. See, she just makes them sound so wonderful. You know. You all read Pioneer Woman. She makes her food sound just delightful. And I love her cooking style: she's not afraid to use butter, she cooks by the seat of her pants, and she makes a lot of food that sounds like food I would like. Well, she nailed this one. It was delicious. Finally, I thought...I love a PW recipe!! Yay!

I have to say, this one had me at the basil.

I LOVE fresh basil, and, as it is in season right now, I am loving life. I use it as often as I can. My basil is doing well, too...but I don't think I have enough for pesto. It just takes so much, and I have a tendency to horde my basil. I can't run the risk of running out. What if I needed some? And tomatoes aren't even on yet. I MUST have basil for the fresh tomatoes. What is a caprese salad without homegrown fresh basil? You see my dilemma, I'm sure.

But, I do use it a lot. Especially when I see recipes like this.

But you know, it wasn't until after I had started making it that I realized it is basically Alfredo sauce. With basil and a bit more lemon than usual. No wonder I liked it.

You will too.

Lemon-Basil Pasta with Chicken
Adapted from Pioneer Woman
Printable Recipe

Lemon Chicken
1/2 pound chicken breasts or chicken tenders
1/8 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine oil, lemon juice, mustard, honey, and salt and put in a ziplock bag with the chicken. Allow to marinate for several hours to overnight. When you're ready to cook dinner, drain and broil the chicken until done, about 15 minutes for tenders, longer for breasts. Let rest for several minutes, then slice. Set aside, but keep warm.

Lemon Basil Pasta
1 pound pasta (I used mini shells, but anything will work)
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup cream
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped basil (about 3/4 cup unchopped)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta, drain, and reserve one cup of pasta water. In the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the lemon juice and whisk to combine. Add the cream and milk and whisk. Allow to cook for a minute or so, until the cream has warmed. Add the cheese and stir until it is melted into the sauce. Salt and pepper to taste, about 1/4 teaspoon salt and one or two grinds of pepper. Remove from heat. Stir in half the basil, then add the pasta. Check the consistency; if it's too thick, add a bit of the reserved pasta water. Check the seasonings and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Top with the remaining basil and chicken.

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