Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower

I’ve been eating cauliflower long before it was cool to make rice or pizza out of it. The best thing about cauliflower (aside from all those health benefits) is its ability to take on whatever flavors you throw at it. This Italian inspired Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower goes great with roasted chicken, a perfect side for holiday gatherings, and literally takes about 2 minutes of prep time. Perfecto!

 

 

Ingredients:
Head of cauliflower, cut into florets
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, grated or pressed
¼ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
⅓ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add cauliflower florets, olive oil, grated garlic, Parmesan cheese to a large bowl and stir until well combined. Pour onto cookie sheet and arrange in a single layer. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown, turning halfway. Enjoy!

Zucchini Pesto with Chicken and Farfalle

Zucchini Pesto with Chicken and FarfalleSpring is upon us, and that means fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden. Even if you don’t do any gardening at home, the quality of vegetables found in the grocery store has improved significantly over the past few weeks, and makes me want to ditch the red sauce and full bodied red wines with pasta in favor of fresh veggies and a lighter, crisp white wine.

Nothing tastes more like summer than fresh basil.  If you have no other vegetable or herb plants, get a potted basil plant. Dried basil loses so much flavor, and the little packets of basil cuttings are pretty expensive – $4.00 for a little packet!. I picked up a big beautiful potted basil plant at Trader Joe’s for $3.49. With a little TLC, it will last the whole summer long. Or even better, I’ll take enough cuttings from it to make 4 or 5 plants, and live happily in pesto-Calabrese-salad heaven all summer long!  (More on how to propagate basil from cuttings later.)

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 lb. boneless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch chunks
½ tsp. Italian seasoning
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
3 zucchini, grated, excess liquid squeezed out and discarded
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
8 oz. Farfalle, prepared according to package
½ cup reserved pasta water
Salt and pepper
8 basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Note: the easiest way to chiffonade basil is to stack the leaves on top of each other, gently roll the stacked leaves and chop into ribbons using a sharp knife. It’s the perfect garnish for any summer dish.

Zucchini Pesto with Chicken and Farfalle 2

Zucchini Pesto with Chicken and Farfalle 3

 

 

 

 

 

Zucchini Pesto with Chicken and Farfalle 4Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes, and season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. In a heavy sauté pan, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil on medium heat. Cook chicken for 4 minutes per side until golden. Meanwhile, grate zucchini into a bowl using the medium side of a grater, squeezing out and discarding the excess liquid. Remove chicken from pan and add additional tbsp. olive oil. Sauté zucchini, garlic and crushed red pepper for 10 minutes. Add chicken, cooked pasta and reserved pasta water, stirring to combine. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with basil ribbons and parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

Wine Pairings:
Rosa dell Olmo Barbera d’Asti 2014

Parmesan Crusted Pesto Chicken

Parmesan Crusted Pesto ChickenWith the cold front that moved through this past weekend, I knew it would be too cold for my outdoor basil plants to survive. I was thinking about making a traditional pesto with pasta, but tis the season for heavy eating, and wanted to keep it light with Thanksgiving only a few days away.

I tried this on a whim, but this is the most fresh, flavorful chicken, hands down! I will need a few more basil plants next summer, so I can make this a weekly tradition. It’s a relatively light dish, but it sure doesn’t taste like it with the garlicky parmesan crust. It’s a great dish if you don’t have a grill; the cast iron skillet is perfect for going right from the stove top into the oven. Less to clean up!

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 chicken breast halves
1-2 cups loosely packed basil laves
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
1 oz. parmesan, shredded
½ tsp. salt
Black pepper to taste

Parmesan Crusted Pesto Chicken 2In a food processor, process basil, garlic, oil and balsamic together until basil is crushed. Pour marinade over chicken, and mix in shredded parmesan, salt and pepper. Heat skillet to medium-high, and sear chicken for 3-4 minutes per side until nicely brown. Cook in oven at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, or internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Enjoy!