Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tuscan Garlic Chicken

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I've been craving Olive Garden lately (yes, I admit this guilty pleasure of mine) and when I don't get a chance to dine there, I do the next best thing... check out their website for recipes! I'm back to cooking from my skimpy pantry yet again and was surprised that I made this dish with a few substitutions. The result? A really, really good pasta dish that I can't wait to make again soon!

This recipe for Tuscan Garlic Chicken was taken from the Olive Garden website. Although I didn't have fresh bell peppers or fresh spinach, I used frozen bell pepper strips and frozen spinach with no problem. Another substitution I made was using a lonely can of evaporated milk I had in place for the half & half or cream. (I still don't recall why I even bought canned evaporated milk to begin with!) The last substitution I made was using a last bit of Fontinella cheese I had in my fridge, which replaced the Parmesan cheese in the original recipe. Despite all these adaptations, the end result was still delicious and I found it tasted better the next day when the pasta had a chance to really absorb all buttery, cheesy and garlicky wine flavors of the sauce. YUM!

Tuscan Garlic Chicken
recipe adapted from Olive Garden

4 (4 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups flour, plus 1 tablespoon
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 lb farfalle pasta, cooked according to package directions
5 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp garlic, chopped
1 red pepper, julienne cut
1 yellow pepper, julienne cut
1 green pepper, julienne cut
1 cup white wine (Sauvignon Blanc is excellent)
10 oz package frozen whole leaf spinach
1 cup half & half or canned evaporated milk
1 cups Fontinella cheese, grated (or Parmesan)


Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.

Mix 1½ cups flour, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in the mixture, shaking off any excess.

Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a large skillet. Cook chicken breasts over medium-high heat until golden brown and crisp (2-3 min). Add more oil for each batch as necessary.

Place cooked chicken breasts on a baking sheet and transfer to preheated oven. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a sauce pan. Add garlic and peppers and cook for approximately 1 minute. Stir in 1 Tbsp flour, wine, spinach and cream and bring to a boil. Sauce is done when spinach becomes wilted.

Complete by stirring in the cheese.

Coat cooked, drained pasta with sauce, then top with chicken and remaining sauce. Garnish with extra cheese if desired.

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