This is a light pasta dish that’s perfect for the warm weather. It’s packed with healthy ingredients that will leave you satisfied without feeling stuffed. And the best part is that you can make it with many items that you keep in the pantry or freezer, which makes it a great option for a quick, weeknight meal. My Mediterranean Pasta uses multigrain pasta, which has many nutritional benefits compared to white pasta. I used Barilla Plus, which is enriched with a legume flour blend of lentils, chickpeas, oats, spelt, barley, egg whites, ground flaxseed and wheat fiber. It has more protein and fiber than traditional pasta. Because of the addition of flaxseed, it also has omega-3 fatty acids, which are not found at all in traditional pasta. The texture and color are very similar to white pasta, which makes it a good option for picky eaters.
I toss the pasta with lean chicken breast as well as artichoke hearts, capers and sundried tomatoes, all staples of a healthy Mediterranean diet. Artichoke hearts are packed with antioxidants, vitamins (especially Vitamin C, Vitamin K and folate), minerals and fiber. Fresh artichokes are in season in the spring but typically take a good amount of time to prep. Fortunately, you can save yourself lots of time by buying artichoke hearts frozen or canned. Sundried tomatoes add a hint of sweetness to the dish and capers add a nice salty bite. You can also use olives if you prefer. When you buy sundried tomatoes, try to find the dried ones and soak them in warm water, stock or wine before adding them to your dishes. They have significantly less fat than the jarred ones that are soaked in olive oil.
The sauce is made with garlic, chili flakes, chicken stock, lemon juice and a small amount of flour for thickening. Stir in a bunch of fresh basil and some Parmesan cheese right at the end for a nice finishing touch. The whole family will love this dish. Enjoy!
Makes 4 servings
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes
1 cup reduced sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons flour
8 ounces multigrain thin spaghetti (I used Barilla Plus)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 2 large breasts), cut into bite size pieces
Salt and pepper
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided use
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 package (9 ounces) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (can use canned)
2 tablespoons capers
½ cup chopped, fresh basil
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Place the sundried tomatoes in a small bowl and soak them in warm water to soften them. If using tomatoes packed in oil, you can skip this step.
To make the sauce, stir the chicken stock, lemon juice, zest and flour together in a bowl. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the spaghetti. Cook according to package directions, until al dente. Drain and reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook without moving it until it is browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook on the other side until browned. Remove the chicken and set aside in a bowl.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the remaining teaspoon oil. Add the garlic and chili flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir the sauce mixture and pour it into the pan. Stir to pick up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Drain the sundried tomatoes and slice them. Add them to the pan along with the artichokes, capers and chicken. Simmer for a few minutes to allow the ingredients to heat up and the flavors to meld. Add the pasta along with the basil and cheese. Toss to combine all ingredients well. Add some of the reserved pasta water as needed until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. Garnish with fresh basil and serve.
One serving:Calories 432; Fat 8.3g (Sat 1.7g); Protein 38.8g; Carb 48.8g; Fiber 7.5g