Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rigatoni with Broccoli, Beans and Basil

This was one of those "healthy" dishes that looked like it wasn't going to be that good. You know how healthy dishes are. But it was really surprisingly good! Pretty impressive for a vegetarian meal! This one is also from the March 2010 BHG, but I've included my tiny alterations. (Purists can look up the original on the BHG website.)


• 8 oz. dried rigatoni (about 3-1/2 cups)
• 2 cups fresh broccoli florets
• 1 19-oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
• 2 tsp. minced garlic
• 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
• ¼ cup snipped fresh basil leaves
• 2 slices bread, cut in small cubes
• ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
• Snipped fresh basil (optional)

1. In Dutch oven cook pasta according to package directions, adding broccoli during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Reserve 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain pasta and broccoli; return to pan.
2. Add beans, garlic, and about 2 Tbsp. of the oil to the pasta and broccoli. Carefully stir in basil, pasta water, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cover and keep warm.
3. For croutons, in skillet heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat. Add bread cubes and red pepper. Cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes, until crisp. Top pasta with croutons and basil. Makes 4 servings.

Mediterranean Chicken and Polenta

{From Better Homes & Gardens, March 2010}

We tried this one last night but without the sun-dried tomatoes - I just used diced tomatoes and olive oil - and it was still surprisingly good!

• ½ of a 6.5-oz. jar oil-packed dried tomatoes with Italian herbs
• 4 small skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1 to 1 1/4 lb.)
• 1 cup assorted olives, drained
• ½ cup dry white wine or reduced-sodium chicken broth
• 4 small bay leaves (optional)
• 1 cup cornmeal

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Drain tomatoes, reserving the oil. Season chicken with salt and black pepper. In 10-inch oven-going skillet heat all the reserved oil over medium-high. Cook chicken in hot oil 3 minutes each side or until browned; remove skillet from heat. Add tomatoes, olives, wine, and bay leaves. Transfer to oven. Bake, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 170 degrees F when inserted in chicken.
2. Meanwhile, for polenta, in large saucepan bring 3 cups water to boiling. In a bowl combine cornmeal, 1 cup cold water, and 1 tsp. salt; gradually stir into boiling water. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Reduce heat; stir occasionally. (I also added about 2 Tbsp. herb butter and some Parmesan cheese.)
3. Remove skillet from oven and discard bay leaves. Serve chicken with polenta and olives. Makes 4 servings.