Pasta. The mere sound of the word conjurs images in your mind of different shapes – elbow macaroni, bowtie, shells, spaghetti, fettucini, and the fun shapes like campanella and gemelli. There is so much that can be done with pasta, different sauces – marinara, red meat, cream sauces, cheese sauces, pesto sauce…the list goes on. Pasta gets added into, topped with and stuffed with almost everything imaginable. It’s boiled, fried, baked, sauteed or any combination thereof.
However, there is nothing that compares to freshly made pasta. Have I had freshly made pasta? Of course I have! A long, long time ago in a smaller-than-a-spec village in Italy where the women “just whip up a plate of pasta” and the men sit around the kitchen table and tell tales. In this village, I was introduced to a cute little Thumper bunny and later was told Thumper was on my plate. Yes, this was the same trip where I had my shrimp episode and with the same person. I should have known…..
Where was I? Oh yes, pasta. Having been married to not only just an Italian, but an Italian who owns a restaurant, I became quite familiar with pasta. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with an ingredient – some are winners, others are…well, let’s just move on. That ingredient is Balsamic Vinegar. One night while my kids were working, I “just whipped up a plate of pasta” using balsamic vinegar.
What I came up with was something pretty damn fantastical. Using shredded rotisserie chicken (seriously, roast a chicken, take the skin off, shred the meat and you have an ingredient at the ready for almost any kind of dish. Just do it – you’ll thank me for it), this dish will be ready before you can spell “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”. Yeah, don’t look it up right now, wait until you are done here with reading and printing up this recipe. Because you will….you’re mouth has its power jets working over-time.
Oh wait, you have a little bit of drool….yeah, right there. Got it!
Now, since I am trying to make dishes nutritionally better for me and my family, I used whole wheat linguini. Personally, I think this dish would be MUUUUU-U-UCH better with regular linguini, but, I am staying strong and determined to make the food I stuff in my face healthy…..most of the time. You would be surprised to know that even though I used whipping cream, it was not….repeat: was not the highest caloric ingredient in this dish. Well, okay, maybe you don’t care, so I will just say that I was surprised. As all get out. So make like an Italian woman and “just whip up a plate of this pasta” and try it for yourself. Then look up that Marry Poppins word and maybe watch that movie, or not.
- half a box of whole wheat linguini
- 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- ⅛ tsp. fresh ground sea salt and dried garlic
- ⅛ tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
- ½ med. red onion, diced
- 1½ - 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup - ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1½ tsp. agave nectar
- 1 cup shredded chicken, cooked
- 2½ stalks green onion, diced
- 4 - 6 grape tomatoes, quartered
- shredded Asiago cheese (optional)
- Put a pot of water on for the pasta, making sure to add salt to the water.
- In a skillet, add the olive oil and heat on medium heat. Add diced onion, salt & dried garlic and pepper. Sautee until translucent, about 5 minutes - you don't want the onions to brown.
- Here's the tricky part: shove the onions to the side of the skillet and add the balsamic vinegar to the empty side of the skillet. Do not let the onions and vinegar get to know each other yet...they aren't old enough yet. The vinegar will start to bubble and become very fragrant. Reduce it to about half, approximately 5 minutes.
- Now you can have the onions and vinegar do a little dance together by combining the two. The onions will start to take on the brown color of the vinegar. That's okay, you want that.
- By now, your pasta water should be screaming - add the pasta to the boiling water and cook to al dente according to the package. Usually it's anywhere from 7 - 9 minutes.
- Back to your onions - add the whipping cream and let it get all happy with the balsamic onions. Add the agave and shredded chicken. Cook about 2 - 3 minutes.
- Add the green onion and cook 1 more minute. This is where you know you want to taste this concoction...so go ahead. Taste it. See if you need to make any modifications to suit your tastes. Too balsamic-y for you? Add just a tiny bit of agave - too sweet? Add a tinsy bit of balsamic vinegar. Now add the tomatoes and let it do it's thing.
- By now, your pasta should be done but don't just dump it into a colander! Save about ½ cup pasta water, then drain your pasta. Add the pasta to your balsamic cream sauce and toss well. If it's a little too 'dry', add a little bit of the pasta water at a time until it's nice and creamy.
- Top with shredded Asiago cheese and serve immediately.