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A quick dish with a kick

March 13, 2013|Scott Anderson | Culinary Passion

This recipe is perfect for those times when you need a delicious dinner that doesn’t require hours of preparation or cooking. 

It’s low in fat and calories and high in flavor, because I’ve substituted skim milk and cornstarch for heavy cream. You can always add more garlic if you desire, as well as additional fresh herbs such as oregano or thyme. I like crushed red pepper for an added bite, but you can choose to leave it off or go with freshly diced jalapeño or serrano peppers.

Penne: Kicked up a Notch

1 pound penne pasta, cooked aldente

8 ounces boneless, skinless, chicken breasts — cut into strips

Salt and Pepper to taste

Grapeseed oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup skim milk mixed with 1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/8 cup fresh basil, chopped fine (See cook’s note)

2 roma tomatoes, large dice

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan or romano cheese

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Prepare pasta per instructions on box.

Heat deep sauté pan on medium high heat.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Drizzle 1 ounce of oil into the hot pan and add chicken. Sauté  2 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for an additional minute, do not let it burn.

Add stock and simmer 6 minutes, then add milk and cornstarch mixture to thicken. Stir until combined and thickened.  If too thick add in an ounce of milk at time until desired consistency is reached.

Remove from heat; add penne, tomatoes, basil, cheese and red pepper flakes. Toss well and serve immediately.

Serve with some fresh bread and a few of your favorite grilled veggies.

Serves 6 to 8.

Cook’s note: Instead of fresh basil, replace with 1 tablespoon dried basil.

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— Scott C. Anderson is associate food service director and chef with Shepherd University dining services in Shepherdstown, W.Va., and Chef Ambassador to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

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