The other day “The Boy” also called “Big Pete” says “You are not bringing your best game to the kitchen”. He says “You need to create some different dishes, like you used to”. Now, my first reaction is to give him a karate chop to the neck but, with great restraint, I held back. I did remind him that the average family in Dallas eats out 5 days a week. I was about to give him my “do you know how good you’ve got it man speech when I realized he was right. So, I made something different today! This is a medley of vegetables and a bit of chicken if you like. This is my version of Pasta Primavera.
Of course, you can quite easily substitute any of your favorite veggies. I like to cook everything separate and then toss it all back at the last minute. Make this with or without meat.
You will need:
- 3 slices bacon -chopped into small pieces
- 4 slices of good quality Italian salami -sliced
- 1 chicken breast – sliced into strips
- salt/pepper (at every stage)
- 1/2 small onion diced fine
- 1 1/2 cups or so of broccoli florets
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes slice in half
- 1 large handful of spinach – sliced into strips
- 4-5 basil leaves – sliced into ribbons
- 3-4 green onions – sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic- minced finely
- 1 tsp dry Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp chili flake
- more great quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil – mine was a medium from the Riva Garda region of Italy for drizzling
- 1 tbsp or so of great quality balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 -1 lb box of dry penne pasta
- more salt and pepper to finish with some fresh grated Parmensano Reggiano cheese.
Step 1: put on some Andrea Boccelli and pour yourself a glass of wine and just slice, dice and chop everything before cooking. Once this is done you can start cooking things in batches. If you prefer the tomatoes uncooked just toss everything as you cook it into a giant bowl. Put a big pot of water on the stove to boil.
Step 2: on a medium low heat cook the bacon until approximately half cooked, then add the salami and once both are crispy remove from pan.
Step 3: in the same pan add the onion plus salt and pepper and cook until slightly browned approx 5-7 minutes
Step 4: cook chicken with 1-2 tbsp olive oil and some salt and pepper, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning and chili flakes, remove from pan once browned.
Step 5: with more olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper (it really is important to season at each stage) cook zucchini until nicely browned and remove from pan.
Step 6: add a bot more oil and the broccoli cooking for 2-3 minutes with more salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute more. The water in the tomatoes cooks the small broccoli pieces perfectly al dente.
Add chicken and all the other cooked components back in to toss for 1 final minute.
Add the spinach and green onions and garlic and anything else you may have chopped up!
Pour into a giant bowl add another drizzle of raw olive oil, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and some Parmesan cheese. Taste it! if it needs more seasoning add it.
Eat it !