Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pasta

Simple grilled lemon pepper chicken is sliced and served over top a lemony cream sauce. This easy dinner is done in less than 30 minutes and is perfect for summer!

Memorial Day unofficially means the start of summer around here - especially since the kids start ending their school year. And summer means fresh produce! Last week when I went grocery shopping, I went a little hog wild in the produce section and am now hurriedly cooking through them before they spoil!

This pasta lets 2 items that you can easily find at the farmers market this summer shine: lemon and basil. They are perfectly matched, aren't they? It's creamy, tart, and flavorful. The grilled chicken is perfect over the light pasta but you could also use shrimp or scallops.

Lemons vary in size and juice amount so it's important to measure the juice or you'll sour the dish. This is a dish for lemon lovers - which we both are - but if you don't love lemon, you won't like this. It's the shining star!

Don't reach for the bottled stuff - you really want fresh lemon juice for this. It's worth it, I promise!

Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pasta
1 pound boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
1 pound penne pasta
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, about 3 lemons worth
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup half-and-half
1.5 cups grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
20 whole basil leaves, chopped

Preheat the grill to high and lightly oil the grates. Rub the lemon pepper seasoning on all sides of the chicken and place on the grill. Cook, turning as needed, until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes per side. Remove from grill and allow to rest.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water. 

Return the now empty pasta pot to the stove and melt the butter over medium heat. Add the lemon juice and whisk together, then add the cream and half-and-half. Continue whisking and add the cheese; whisk until melted. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Check the consistency, adding pasta water to loosen if needed.

Add the drained pasta to the sauce and combine. Stir in half of the chopped basil and then pour into a large serving bowl. Thinly slice the grilled chicken and lay on top of the pasta, then sprinkle the remaining basil over top. Serve hot.

Adapted from Pioneer Woman

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