I'm not usually a fan at all of lemon in pasta. Countless of recipes have been tried where lemon is the star of the pasta dish or the chicken dish, and after trying the recipe, there was always what I felt was too much lemon. It was completely overpowering, and I would have to spend the next 10 minutes or so trying to figure out how to bring everything back in balance. I bomb recipes all the time, and figuring out how to save it is just part of the game at dinnertime!
This recipe, however, has completely changed my mind. I wanted to give lemon pasta one more go, and was happily proven wrong! THIS IS AMAZING STUFF, folks. Let's jump right in, shall we?
First, I seasoned the chicken with steak seasoning. Not typically a choice I would make, but I've been craving steak like a mad woman, and steak wasn't on the menu. Anyway to fake that steak flavor, right? Definitely a stretch, I get it. But it actually cooked beautifully with the juicy chicken on the grill. Make sure to not overcook your chicken. Yes, make sure you hit the 165-degree mark, but don't overcook - that's when things get dry and well, not awesome. I grilled my chicken, pulled them aside on a plate covered in aluminum foil, and let them rest while I made the pasta.
Okay, so the pasta is insane. Basil and lemon. Lemon and basil. The marriage of the ages has come together to wrap themselves around each little spiral pasta. With a little help from some cream and lots of parmesan, the usual power-trip of the lemon was mellowed, and everything came together beautifully. The basil is such a huge help in making the lemon the star, without having it taste sour, and I LOVED that. We had this for dinner a couple weeks ago with a side of fresh steamed peas and a pile of fruit. Dinner was super-easy to throw together, and with the busy lives we all lead, it's kind of nice to have one of these recipes in your back pocket to whip out quickly! Enjoy, dear friends!
Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pasta
makes 8 servings
4 whole grilled chicken breasts, or 12 grilled chicken tenders, sliced*
1 lb whole grain spiral pasta, cooked until al dente
1/2 stick of unsalted butter (1/4 C)
2 whole lemons, juiced
1/2 C heavy cream
1/2 C half and half
1 C + 1/2 C grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
15 medium basil leaves, chopped
1. Cook pasta according to directions on package until al dente, reserve 1 C hot pasta water. Strain pasta and set aside.
2. In the same large pot, melt butter over medium heat, then squeeze in the lemon juice (watch out for seeds!), whisk together, then pour in the creams. Keep whisking until warmed through completely, then dump in the cheese. Keep whisking until cheese is melted, add salt and pepper to taste. Add a little pasta water if the sauce is too thick.
3. Pour pasta into sauce and stir around until lemon sauce coats all the noodles. Toss in the basil. Serve in a bowl with sliced chicken breasts on top. Serve hot!
*I seasoned my grilled chicken with steak seasoning before grilling it outside. It definitely helped with the overall heartiness of the meat, over the bed of light pasta.
Recipe adapted from: Pioneer Woman