A Quick, Healthy Meal in 30 Minutes
‘What’s for dinner?’ is one of the most common questions in the home.
What if you want something that is simple, quick, healthy, and really tasty?
Lemon Ricotta Chicken Over Pasta is an excellent choice. It is will please the eaters and its simplicity will please the chef.
This recipe is characterized by the freshness imparted by the lemon. I used a Meyer’s Lemon because I like the sweetness that they bring. The tomatoes, broccoli, and peas will bring a bright appearance when plated. Finally, the ricotta cheese will provide the creaminess that make this dish so pleasant to the tongue.
Also, the citrus will leave a nice taste in your mouth following the meal that will leave you with an extra bit of satisfaction.
If I had a restaurant, this would be on the menu. It has a wonderful combination of ease of preparation, favor, and cost that would make it a popular item.
- 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 4 ounces of a dry pasta (I like rotini)
- Zest from 1 lemon (used a Meyers Lemon)
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 3 TBSP of ricotta chesse
- 1 cup of frozen green peas
- 1 cup of cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup of broccoli florets
- 3 cloves of salt
- salt for the pasta water
- 1/2 tsp salt for the chicken
- 2 TBSP of butter
- 1 TBSP of olive oil
- I begin by putting my pasta water on medium so that it is ready to go when I have finished the other preps.
- I then flatten my chicken and salted it. This allows for maximum flavor in the chicken. See the video at the 5:30 mark to see me flatten the chicken breast with a small skillet.
- Peel and mince garlic.
- Prep broccoli by cutting it into “bite-sized” pieces and put in steamer.
- Prep cherry tomatoes.
- Zest and squeeze 1 lemon.
- Heat skillet for melting butter and sauteing garlic on low. We only want to soften the garlic and tame it a little.
- Heat skillet for cooking the chicken. I set mine to medium heat and monitor it.
- The the pasta water is boiling I crank it up.
- Measure out pasta and add the peas to the pasta.
- When everything is ready to go add pasta to water and place chicken in the skillet. Cover chicken (I used a small pizza pan.)
- Add butter and garlic to its small pan. Keep the temperature low.
- Flip chicken when it has released from the bottom of the skillet.
- When the chicken is cooked to 165 F, remove it from the skillet and de-glazed the pan. I do not use this pan sauce in this dish because it would change the color of the dish too much.
- Slice the chicken on the bias into very slim pieces.
- Drain pasta.
- Add ricotta, lemon juice and zest, and garlic butter to the pasta. Thoroughly mix.
- Add tomatoes and broccoli to pasta. Gently mix.
- Plate pasta.
- Add chicken to plate.
- Grate Parmesan Cheese.
- Serve and Enjoy.
Tips and Alternatives
- I wanted sugar peas in the pod but couldn’t find any.
- I use iron skillets and I want the handle too hot to grip, but not so hot that you smell iron or smoke the seasoning. However, if you like the “blackened” style, you need to heat the iron up until you can smell it and the bottom of the pan is smoking a bit.
- You can play with the flavors by varying the vegetables. Red peppers and carrots, for example, might appeal to some.
- You can play with citrus and ricotta. I want to try tamarind and coconut cream, maybe with an Asian noodle.
- This is a great mostly-empty-refrigerator recipe because it can be very flexible. Don’t have chicken? Try fish, or beef, even tofu.