This is a great pasta dish to make when you're craving something naughty, but should really be eating something nice. I intentionally left 'spinach', 'chicken', and 'whole wheat' out of the title to draw you in.
I like to do the ol' bait & switch on The Stallion, too. And quite often.
Actually, apparently that's not true. I talk a big game, but when I actually had to think of an example, not a one came to mind. I asked The Stallion and he couldn't think of anything either. Although, to his point, if I'm really good at it, he shouldn't have any idea that it's happening. Can I be so good at it that I'm not even aware of my own super powers?
What does it all mean?
Now, don't get me wrong, you can't go shoveling this into your face every day and still expect to lose weight. Or maintain your weight for that matter. BUT it will satisfy your craving for a creamy, comforting pasta without completely ruining your diet.
Setting a plate down in front of The Stallion is the real test for my light recipes. This one? Passed with flying colors.
This dish would be just great without the chicken, or with shrimp instead. Ooh la la!
Light & Creamy Lemon Basil Pasta
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- zest & juice of half a lemon
- 1 t. fresh ground black pepper
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 1/2 T olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups spinach
- 1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 package (8 oz.) whole wheat pasta
- Combine the zest, lemon juice, mascarpone, and pepper in a bowl; stir to combine. Bring a pasta pot of salted water to boil.
- While waiting on the water, heat the oil in a skillet. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until browned and cooked through. Add the garlic just before the chicken is done (don't add too early or it will brown and become bitter).
- Cook the pasta until al dente, taking it off the heat about 1 to 2 minutes before you would normally remove it. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
- Return the pasta to the pot, and set over medium heat. Stir in the mascarpone and lemon mixture, the chicken, basil, spinach, and garlic/oil from the skillet. Loosen the sauce with about 1/4 cup of the water and toss all over the ingredients together until the spinach has wilted and everything is piping hot, adding a little additional pasta water if needed. Serve immediately, topped with grated cheese or sauteed breadcrumbs. Or croutons - The Stallion made some for this dish and the added texture was phenomenal.