i made up something totally delicious last night for dinner. seriously. i am really impressed with myself again. the thing is, i am super hit or miss when it comes to dishes i create on the fly, and then, when i happen to homer, i never write down what i did and then i can’t ever make it again and it’s lost forever. i am putting a stop to that nonsense today! i really thought last night’s grub was going to be a total bust. i was not feelin’ it, not in the mood to cook, was working mainly with my leftover chicken from friday’s dinner as a jumping off point, and spent a good part of the picture perfect afternoon at urgent care getting a tetanus booster after stepping on a rusty nail (classic) while trimming cilantro. ben was fussy and weird all day and to add insult to injury, it was Sunday which meant my glorious 3 day weekend was picking up steam and closer every second to being gone, gone, gone (please sing that to the tune of “gone” by n’sync. if you don’t know “gone” by n’sync, why are we friends?)
regardless, i am here today to say i triumphed. i even almost took a picture of it, cuz i think all good recipes should be accompanied by a picture. especially these days. there’s just no excuse not to….except for one: laziness. i was too lazy to style it. lame, i know. but trust me, this is one ridiculously delicious, thrown-together mish-mash of leftover perfection….
shells with chicken, veggies & basil cream sauce
(really need a better name for this….)
- what you need:
- 2 TBS butter
- 2 TBS evoo
- 1 small onion, chopped
- ½ - 1 whole red bell pepper, medium dice
- tomatoes, chopped. i used 4 camparis, but you could use 4 romas or even half a pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 2 cooked chicken breasts, sliced or 1’’ dice
- white wine (maybe ¾ cup?)
- chicken broth (a cup?)
- pinch of crushed red pepper (1/2 a tsp?)
- heavy cream (about ½ cup….i used whipping cream because that’s what i had. dear lord, who do i think i am? paula deen? And i wonder why i am still wearing my maternity pants…next time i will use half & half…cuz that’s dietetic or something)
- a whole lotta fresh basil….like 20 big leaves. or even more….the more, the better)
- Grated parmesan cheese (at least half cup, i probably used closer to ¾ cup)
- medium shells or pasta of your choice. i think this would also be good with rigatoni, penne or cavatappi…not so much with the spaghetti types though)
so…you’ll melt the butter and evoo together in a pan over medium heat and then cook the onion till it is almost translucent. throw in the bell pepper, tomatoes and garlic & let that cook for a minute or so to soften it, then throw in the corn and the crushed red pepper and cook that around for a minute or so….season this all with salt and pepper to taste…deglaze the pan with the wine (honestly, i didn’t measure the wine, i poured it in straight from the jug…er…i mean the bottle), let that cook down for a couple of minutes, add the chicken broth, let that cook down for a couple of minutes, throw in the chicken and let it warm through and then add the cream or half & half (make sure the heat is not up higher than the lowish end of medium or it will break and look gross). bring the whole thing to a bare simmer and let it simmer away while you cook the pasta so it thickens. if it gets too thick, add a little more chicken broth, you don’t want it too thick because you’ll be adding cheese. thicker than soup, thinner than alfredo sauce, ok?).
cook the pasta in SALTED WATER (for the love, please salt your pasta water. a lot of salt. lots.) for a minute less than the box says for “al dente” and then toss it right into the pan with the veggies and sauce. throw in two giants handfuls of chopped basil and the parmesan cheese and stir it all around. add another handful of basil if you’re feeling frisky….then throw in a little more cheese, season with salt and pepper to taste and fall on the floor in a coma of deliciousness.
i think this is delicious beyond words as it is, i truly do, but i am already thinking about adding more veggies next time and making it sort of a primavera style…lots more corn, lots more tomatoes, maybe some quartered mushrooms and some zucchini or yellow squash, extra chicken….more basil….maybe a chipotle in adobo instead of the crushed red for a little smoky flair? holy yum. for real peeps, i only post the “must-makes” on this blog and this, my friends, is a dish your days will be considerably less delicious without.