Pasta for the Parents

Last weekend my sister, Alice, and I tag teamed and made a simple pasta dinner for my parents. They work in the food industry so the last thing they want to do is come home to cook a meal (they meaning my mom =) This dish is great for spring or summer because it highlights the seasonal veggies and makes good use of whatever protein you have on hand. To our surprise, our Korean food loving parents happily ate this up. Even my dad commented on how much he enjoyed the simple flavors. Happy eating! -S

Photo credit to Alice who shot this on her Canon DSLR

Simple Chicken and Veggie Pasta
Serves 6
1 lb of fusilli pasta (or penne)
1 1/4 lb of cooked chicken breast (or thighs), cut into strips (option: use leftover rotisserie chicken or sausage would great too and add some peppery flavors)
1/2 cup of chicken broth
2 TB olive oil (for cooking chicken) + 3 TB olive oil for pasta
6 cloves of garlic, rough chopped
1/4  head of cauliflower, cut into florets (about 1 cup)
1 lb of cherry or grape tomatoes (I used cherry), halved
1  cup of asparagus (frozen or fresh, I used frozen), cut into 2 inch pieces
1/4 cup of fresh basil, chiffonade (cut into thin strips)
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a stockpot, boil water for cook the pasta and cook based on package instructions. Set aside. While water is boiling, preheat oven to 400F for roasting the tomatoes.
2. Cover a baking sheet (or roasting pan) with foil and pour the halved tomatoes into the pan/baking sheet. Pour a little olive oil and gently toss with your hand. Roast for 10 minutes or until bruised. (This step is optional but it emphasizes the wonderful and vibrant flavors of these mini tomatoes–you’ll be amazed! But I realize it’s an extra step).
3. Season uncooked chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and cook on a frying pan, 7 minutes on each side. Side aside for about 5 minutes or until cooled. Cut into strips.
4. Over medium heat, heat a stockpot (same one used for cooking pasta). Once heated, pour  2 TB of olive oil. Add chopped garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add cauliflower and asparagus and saute for 2 minutes or until slightly browned. Turn the heat down to medium low add chicken broth and cover with lid for 5 more minutes until the veggies are cooked (and slightly crunchy) and the broth is reduced by about half. Turn off the heat.
5. To the stockpot, add cooked pasta, tomatoes, remaining olive oil (3 TB) and gently toss and season accordingly with salt and pepper. Plate meals into pasta bowls/plates and top with basil and grated Parmesan cheese.

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