So, I considered and came up with this:
- 3 chicken breasts
- 2 Tablespoons of olive oil (divided)
- 1 13-oz can of artichoke hearts in water
- 6 oz mushrooms (I get whatever it is on sale)
- 1.5 tomatoes. These fit in my hand, and were slightly smaller than a baseball. If you don't play baseball, figure your average orange. If you don't eat oranges, I'll get back to you.
- Cheese--Parm will work here. A mix of Parm and Romano would probably be delicious too. I had the leftover Grana Padano (this worked out to about 3/4 of a cup, and could easily be adjusted to more next time I make this)
- 4 shallots
- 1 pound of linguine
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Add 1 T of the olive oil in a sauté pan. Mince the shallots into very tiny pieces and add them to the oil. Bring the oil to medium heat and stir frequently until the shallots are brown. I went all the way to crispy, but this isn't necessary if you're short on time.
In between the stirring, drain the artichokes, roughly chop them (I put them in about four pieces each), rinse them and drain. Also pat dry with paper towels.
Don't forget about the shallots, give them a stir. Rinse and chop your mushrooms. Do the same for your tomatoes. Zest the lemon.
When the shallots are done, take them out of the pan and drain on a paper towel. Add the other Tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and then add your chicken breasts. Turn the breasts over every 5 minutes or so, and take the temperature of each breast in its fattest part. Take them out of the pan when the temperature reaches between 160 and 165. The chicken will be starting to get brown at this point.
Put the chicken on a plate, cover it with foil and start the pasta water. Have a glass of wine. Go wake up your significant other. Kill about five minutes so when you cut the chicken its juice doesn't go all over the place. Trust me. It's a bitch to clean up. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Before you drain, set aside about 1/2 a cup of the pasta water. This will help saucify the dish. Is saucify a word? It is now. I'm suddenly reminded of a very young Laurence Fishburne in Apocalypse Now.
Lemon and Parmesan (and its relatives) sounds counter-intuitive, but it's a really neat combination.
Once the pasta is drained, put it back in the pot and put the heat to low. Add your vegetables, stir well, start gradually adding the cheese. Incorporate pasta water a little at a time (you may not use it all), until the sauce coats your pasta and vegetables. Finally add the chicken, lemon, and pepper. Serve immediately, with more red pepper to taste.
I was really pleased with how this came out, but it definitely needed more shallots. Nexx wanted a lower pasta-to-additions ratio, and I can see his point. I like pasta with additions. He prefers meat and vegetables with pasta.
I'm considering a few variations of this. I'd like to try adding basil. Another thought is bacon or pancetta. I can definitely do more vegetables.
If you try this, let me know!