When I’m not sure what to make for dinner, my go-to is usually pasta because it’s quick cooking, easy and because it’s a great vehicle for using up other leftovers. Case in point, last night, I had one lone chicken breast in my fridge and some diced pancetta. Two people probably can’t make a meal off of one piece of chicken and some pancetta but combine that with some veggies and bulk it up with pasta and you’ve got yourself a pretty hearty meal, plus leftovers for tomorrow.
As far as the veggies in this dish go, I happened to have asparagus spears, some grape tomatoes, a jar of roasted red peppers and some frozen peas on hand but you could use whatever vegetables you want in this dish. It’s really about using up your leftovers. That’s another great thing about pasta – the versatility of it. You can get creative and play around with the flavors in this dish. Red pepper flakes would be a nice addition as well. Actually, I’m kind of kicking myself that I didn’t add them to this recipe.
Pasta with chicken, pancetta and vegetables
1 lb of fusili (or penne or similar pasta)
1/2 cup finely diced pancetta
1 chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
3/4 cup of flour
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup of diced roasted red peppers
Asparagus spears, about 1 cup cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup of halved grape tomatoes
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1/4 chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the pasta. Cook according to package directions and drain when al dente.
2. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large pan over medium heat, add the pancetta and sautee until crisp.
3. While the pancetta is cooking, sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and dredge them in the flour. Shake off the excess flour and set to the side on a plate.
4. Once the pancetta is done cooking (about 5 minutes), remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set to the side to drain on a paper towel. Add the chicken pieces, dredged in flour, to the pancetta drippings and sautee until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.
5. Add the garlic to the pan and sautee for 1 minute. Remove the chicken and garlic and set to the side.
6. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and add the roasted red peppers, asparagus and grape tomatoes. Sautee for 2 minutes and remove from the pan.
7. Add the wine and the chicken broth to the pan. Scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and let the wine and chicken broth thicken a bit and reduce by half. This should take about 10 minutes.
8. Add the frozen peas to the wine and chicken broth sauce and stir for 1 minute to defrost. Add the chicken and veggies back into the pan and stir for 1 more minute. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.
9. Pour the sauce with the chicken and veggies over the pasta. Sprinkle the pancetta and parmesan cheese and basil over the top and stir to combine everything.
10. Serve in bowls with some extra parmesan cheese.