Tuscan Garlic Chicken Pasta: Test Kitchen Tuesday

This is one of those recipes I have had tucked away for a long time–anything with six cloves of garlic has promise, right.  Pasta dishes are ideal for a quick weeknight meal, use Tinkyada brown rice pasta and it’s gluten-free too. Basil is at its peak right now, available at most farmers markets—I anticipate that is what makes this dish really sing. We shall see!

I hope you join me in this delicious adventure!

In the next week or so:

1.  Make the recipe (posted below)
2.  Leave a comment describing your experience, opinion, adjustments, or suggestions.  ♥ If you do focus on altering it to economize, choose healthier ingredients or techniques, make it gluten-free/allergy sensitive, embellish for entertaining, or incorporate into batch/once-a-month cooking, please mention that too.
3.  Subscribe to comments so you can see what others have done.
4.  If you are especially proud of your creation, snap a photo and send it to me at [email protected] so it can be included in this post, or include a link to your site with your comment.

Tuscan Garlic Chicken Pasta

Source: http://www.cookscountry.com/recipe.asp?recipeids=5444
Serves 4
6       garlic cloves — minced
1/4    teaspoon  red pepper flakes
6       tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
4       boneless, skinless chicken breasts — about 1 1/2 pounds
Salt and pepper
1        pound  penne pasta
1        bag  baby arugula — 5-ounce
1/2     cup  chopped fresh basil leaves
6        tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
1        cup  grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Meanwhile, combine garlic, pepper flakes, and oil in bowl and microwave until garlic is golden and fragrant, about 1 minute.

2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Transfer 1 tablespoon oil from bowl with garlic mixture to large skillet and heat over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add chicken and cook until well browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest 5 minutes, then slice thin and set aside.

3. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve ½ cup cooking water. Drain pasta and return to pot. Stir in sliced chicken, arugula, basil, lemon juice, Parmesan, and remaining garlic mixture, adding reserved pasta water as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

NOTE: Microwaving the garlic, pepper flakes, and olive oil until fragrant blooms the flavors and infuses the oil.


  1. says

    I love the note about microwaving the herbs and garlic in the oil. I do that all the time. Not only does it infuse the oil but takes the raw taste of garlic away in a lot of recipes where it’s just supposed to be raw. I do it for 10 seconds as my microwave makes the oil bubble over if it’s longer.

  2. says

    Well, it sounded better than it was. It was the lemon that overpowered everything–the garlic, basil, and cheese didn’t stand a chance. The individual who created this recipe must have had a love for acidic flavors.

    However, I do think the recipe can be salvaged by reducing the lemon juice to 3 tablespoons and mixing it with 3 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of chicken stock or pasta water (chicken stock would help the flavors meld better). This will maintain the same level of liquid and allow the other flavors of the dish to come forward. This combination of flavors, create a promising light summer pasta dish–just not so much lemon, please.

    And since it is summertime, go ahead and grill the chicken instead of pan searing, it will be winter soon enough.

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