Friday, March 26, 2010

Bazinga Bowties with Chicken and Spinach

While flipping through the BJ's magazine one day, Hirsh found a recipe for "Lemon Chicken Bowtie Pasta" that looked really good. Since Hirsh has never actually picked a recipe out of anywhere before, I decided to make it for him for his special birthday dinner. We both thought that the name was kind of lame, so we decided to rename it. It definitely has a "zing" from the lemon and dijon mustard so I suggested "Lemon Zinger Bowties with Chicken and Spinach." Hirsh thought that seemed silly sounding (Lemon Zinger is actually a Celestial Seasonings tea!), but I still wanted to incorporate "zing" into the name. So, I decided to use "Bazinga" instead. For those "Big Bang Theory" devotees out there (great show!) you know "Bazinga" well, but for the rest, it's a fun word that the main character Sheldon likes to add after a joke or insult.

Bazinga Bowties with Chicken and Spinach
6 oz farfalle (bowtie) pasta
1 6-oz bag baby spinach
1 garlic clove, minced
Olive oil
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
Cayanne pepper
3/4 C low sodium chicken broth
1/4 C milk
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp dijon mustard

1. This is a fast moving dish, so prepare all ingredients beforehand. Cube chicken in 1/2-3/4 inch cubes, put lemon juice and mustard in a small bowl, put 2 T flour sprinkled with a few shakes of cayanne pepper in another bowl, measure milk and broth in a 1C measuring cup, put 2 T butter in a stainless steel sauce pan and put garlic and 1 tsp olive oil in a non-stick skillet. You are ready to go!
2. Saute garlic in oil over medium heat, and then add spinach a little at a time until cooked. Transfer to a plate.
3. Start water boiling for pasta.
4. Add more olive oil to the skillet and cook chicken cubes until brown and cooked through, set aside.
5. Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package directions (Barilla is 11 minutes).
6. In the meantime, melt butter in saucepan and whisk in flour/ cayanne pepper mixture. Whisk continuously for about 4 minutes over medium heat to make a roux. It will be darker than normal because of the cayanne pepper, but you will know when it is done when it achieves a smooth texture and starts to darken.
7. Slowly add milk/ broth mixture, whisking continuously. Cook over medium low heat until sauce thickens (about 5 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste.
8. Add lemon and dijon mustard to sauce, whisking in quickly.
9. Drain pasta and add back into pot with spinach and chicken. Toss to combine and then pour sauce over and toss to coat.
10. Serve! Makes 2 dinner portions and 2 lunch portions.

Difficulty: Medium-Hard (a lot going on, hard if you have never made a roux before)
Debbie's Rating: 9.5
Hirsh's Rating: 8.5 - a little too "mustardy" for him...I will probably reduce to 1/2 tsp next time.

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