Pasta Primavera with Grilled Garlic Lemon Chicken

Bellini’s Restorante in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is a popular Italian restaurant that first opened its doors in 1990. I discovered it seven years later when I began my undergraduate program in musical theatre at Oklahoma City University. My first experience at Bellini’s provided the inspiration for this dish. It was a simple primavera with grilled chicken, but it was packed with so much flavor that it soon became my go-to dish when dining there. As I began my law degree at the same university I was sad to discover that it had disappeared from the menu. After learning of this tragedy I set out to recreate that wonderful plate of food, and the recipe below comes very very close. It’s a light summer pasta dish that is simple, delicious and stunning to look at. We hope you enjoy our take on an Italian summer classic.

The chicken will cross the road to get into this marinade!

The chicken will cross the road to get into this marinade!

SHOPPING LIST

(Serves 4)

  • Two large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Zest and juice of one large lemon
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic minced and divided equally into two ramekins
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. Italian seasoning
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs. red chili flakes
  • 2 small-medium zucchini, sliced
  • 2 small-medium squash, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 10-15 spears of asparagus
  • 10-12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • Spaghetti or thin spaghetti
We like to use fresh season veggies for this dish.

We like to use fresh season veggies for this dish.

PREPARATION

  • Cut a small slit in the top of the chicken breasts;
  • Place chicken into a large zip-lock bag with one of the ramekins of garlic, the zest and juice of the lemon, salt and freshly cracked pepper, 3-4 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil, and incorporate the ingredients together;
  • Marinate chicken in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours;
  • Place the sliced zucchini, squash, asparagus spears, carrots, and red bell pepper into a large mixing bowl with the remaining minced garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, freshly cracked pepper, and Italian seasoning. Mix together until incorporated;
  • Spread veggies evenly onto a foil-lined cookie sheet and let veggies marinate for 30-45 minutes at room temperature;
  • While the veggies are marinating, pre-heat the grill to 375°-400°. Grill chicken until done. (I use a 7-7-2-2 minute flip ratio);
This grilled garlic lemon chicken really takes this dish to another level.

This grilled garlic lemon chicken really takes this dish to another level.

Veggies ready for their oven time

Veggies ready for their oven time

  • Pre-heat oven to 375°
  • Bake veggies for 30-40 minutes, stirring half-way through. (At the half-way point add the halved cherry or grape tomatoes);
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the desired amount of pasta. (Reserve approximately 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup of the water prior to draining pasta);
  • In a large bowl toss drained pasta with veggies. In order to avoid dryness in the pasta incorporate 1/4 of the reserved liquid from the pasta at a time (do not overfill with the liquid, though);
  • Thinly slice the chicken;
  • Plate the pasta, sprinkle with parmesan, add a generous portion of chicken and Enjoy!
Pasta in the summer doesn't have to be a heavy dish. It can be light, and filling at the same time!

Pasta in the summer doesn’t have to be a heavy dish. It can be light, and filling at the same time!

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