Most of the time grill meals stand alone as do pasta meals. That changed the other night when the two meals collided. What could be better than pasta, grilled chicken and vegetables? It’s kind of the best of both/all worlds. This makes a wonderful dinner and the leftovers (if there are any) get better with a day or two in the frig.
The dressing does double duty acting as a marinade for the chicken and vegetables as well as the sauce for the finished dish. This can be eaten warm, at room temperature or throw it in the frig to get cold and call it pasta salad.
A few healthy words on the ingredients. Whole wheat pasta is really delicious. It turns out “al dente” just by it’s very nature. It’s bigger taste and texture allow smaller quantites to feel like more. Less pasta means more veggies and a big bowl of goodness for a lower calorie and carb investment. While there is a good bit of olive oil in the dressing/marinade, some goes away in the marinating process and when you split this dish four ways, the impact isn’t too serious.
Dressing: Zest the lemon and squeeze the juice into a container with a tight fitting lid. Add the balsamic, zest, mustard, and anchovy paste. Finely chop the parsley and add it to the jar. Mince the garlic on a cutting board. Add the salt and continue to chop/smash until a paste forms. Add this to the jar. Pour in the olive oil and a few grinds of fresh ground pepper. Shake vigorously until mixture is completely blended.
Place the chicken in a zip top bag. Add 2 tablespoons of the dressing and seal the bag. Squeeze to distribute dressing over chicken. chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Place the asparagus in another zip top bag and add 3 tablespoons of the dressing. Seal the bag. Turn and shake the bag to distribute the dressing over the asparagus. Chill at least 2 hours or overnight. Store the rest of the dressing in the refrigerator.
When it's time to grill, remove the chicken and asparagus from the frig. Peel the onion and cut it in half crosswise. Use two wooden skewers to hold the onion together. Brush with a little bit of the dressing. Grill the chicken and vegetables. (15-20 minutes or so). Remove to cutting boards when cooked.
Cook pasta in salted water until "al dente" while the chicken and vegetables grill.
Cut the grape tomatoes in half lengthwise. Roughly chop the olives. Tear the basil into small pieces
Drain the pasta and put in a large bowl. Slice the chicken into bite size pieces and add to the pasta. Cut the asparagus in thirds and add to the pasta bowl.
Add the tomatoes, olives, and basil to the bowl and toss gently to combine. Add the rest of the dressing to the bowl and toss once more to mix everything together.
Serve in pasta bowls topped with the crumbled Feta Cheese.
Easter is a time for re-birth and new beginnings. Spring is here for the most part and life begins to move outdoors…finally. When I was growing up, Easter was a special time. that was steeped in religious as well as food traditions. Lent ended and with it all the fasting, abstaining and giving things up. To say there was a food frenzy may be a bit of an overstatement, but it was definitely a time for enjoying eating.
I loved the Calzone. We sometimes called it Easter Pie and it was baked on Holy Saturday, not be eaten until after Easter Sunday mass. It was filled with ricotta and sausage, with egg in every part of it. My mother and my aunt both made it and I couldn’t wait for Easter morning to have it. If I timed it right, I could have my mom’s and then go upstairs and have my aunt’s, too. They each had their own version, my aunt’s often having ham and hard-boiled eggs in it.
This is my mother’s recipe. She would make it every Easter. If I was lucky, I’d have it again at Christmas when her side of the family served it as Egg Pie. Whenever it was made, it was one of the most satisfying dishes I’ve ever had.
To make the Crust: Sift the dry ingredients together cut in shortening or butter, blending well.
Beat the egg and 2 tablespoons of milk together and add to the dough mixture. Blend well. turn onto a floured surface and knead for one minute. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes or so.
To make the filling: Cook the sausage and drain on paper towel. Allow to cool. Place the ricotta in a large bowl. Add the beaten eggs, cheese, parsley, and cooled sausage. Stir to gently blend.
Divide dough in half. Roll one half out on floured surface. roll to an even thickness that will fit in a 9 inch pie pan with some overlap. Place in glass pie pan that has been lightly greased.
Spoon the filling into the crust. Roll out the second half of the crust and fit it over the top. Crimp edges to seal well. cut several slashes in the crust.
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes. Brush top with beaten egg yolk about 15 minutes before pie is done.
crust should be golden brown. remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Serve for Easter breakfast or any time you'd like.
Heat olive oil in large pan. Add Pancetta and saute until it is slightly brown. Add the onions and garlic and continue to cook stirring occasionally until the onion begins to turn translucent and the garlic is fragrent.
Add Spinach to pan and toss and cook until the spinach is just wilted. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
Mix Egg, Ricotta, and Parmigiano in a medium bowl. Add the cooled Spinach mixture and stir to combine. Set aside
Use this filling to stuff your favorite" stuffable" pasta. Canneloni, Manicotti, Ravioli or Lasagna all would love to have this filling between their sheets.