Grilled Lemon Chicken Pasta

August 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

A few things have held me back from getting this blog off the ground. One is that I normally cook without any recipes. Once I learn to make a dish, I nearly always improvise with measurements and different ingredients. The thought of trying to calculate everything I do while cooking in order to post a recipe just did not appeal to me.

The second hurdle is photos. When I finish making something, I want to eat it. Typically, I eat it before I cook it and while I’m cooking it as well. Thus, it is extremely hard for me to remember to take a good photo with my fancy camera of all the meals I cook. However, it’s really easy for me to take a crappy photo with my phone. So, in the interest of getting a blogging routine started, I’ve decided to adopt a few abnormalities on this blog, one of which will hopefully change and another which probably won’t.

1) Some posts will have crappy iPhone pictures for accompaniment. I am going to try my darndest to get into the habit of taking real photos, and I feel like that will be easier to do when I have this thing up and running.

2) Some/most posts will not have recipes. I will explain what ingredients I used and how I prepared them, but I won’t be listing measurements and steps like a traditional recipe. If you like cooking, which you likely do if you are reading a food blog, then you will probably be able to recreate the dish. If you don’t like cooking, let’s be honest- you probably weren’t going to make it anyway.

So, without further adieu- Grilled Lemon Chicken Pasta- a non-recipe with an iPhone photo.

Grilled Lemon Chicken Pasta
Serves 3-4 

Bright and blurry...

A few years ago, Brad and I decided we were going to try the Master Cleanse diet, which involves only drinking a spicy lemonade concoction for 10 days. I hunted down a wholesale lemon dealer and bought a 40 lb box in a back alley. Needless to say, this diet was miserable and we only lasted about 4 days. As a consequence, I had to find recipes to use of the crisper-drawer of lemons we had left over. One such dish was a lemon chicken pasta, which I have continued to make regularly.  I no longer have a written recipe for it, and change the vegetables, pasta shapes and marinade quantities every time I make it. In my most recent adventure, I decided to grill the chicken before adding it to the pasta, rather that dice and stir-fry as usual. The result? Fantastique!

Early in the day I put two chicken breasts into a ziploc bag and added some olive oil, a juiced lemon, a sliced clove of garlic, salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Zipped the bag, shook it up and put it in the fridge for later.


I threw those chickens on a preheated BBQ and closed the lid. There are people who will argue that you should leave the lid open when you BBQ, but I am impatient and always close the lid because it helps the food cook faster.

Inside, I was boiling water and had a big skillet coated in cooking spray and ready to saute some chopped onions and garlic. After adding some salt and pepper to the pan, I chopped up a bunch of asparagus to about 1.5 inch pieces and threw them in there as well. After a few good stirs, I zested and juiced one lemon into the skillet and dumped a can of diced tomatoes in there. Stir it a few more times to mix everything together and cover, so the asparagus steams a little bit.

At this point, the water is boiling, so I dunked a hearty amount of broccoli into the bath for about 3 minutes.  I probably could have gotten away with only blanching them for 1-2 minutes, since they go into the hot skillet (with the help of a slotted spoon) with the rest of the ingredients and inevitably continue to cook. I guess it just depends if you like your broccoli with a little bite or not.

Once the broccoli is into the skillet, take the lid off and keep it off. Stir it around.  Add about 2-3 cups of dry pasta (I used rotini this time, but it really doesn’t matter) to the boiling water (it’s okay that the broccoli left it green!) and go flip the chicken on the grill.  The chicken should be flipped around 8-10 minutes after they start cooking, so plan accordingly.

When you get back to the stove, stir the pasta around so it doesn’t form one big pasta mass and stir the other ingredients around to feel useful.  At this point, I like to shake-shake-shake some red pepper flakes into the mix because I like spicy. If you like spicy, I recommend you do as well.

So, after a few more minutes, the chicken should be ready. Chop it up into bite-sized pieces and add it to the vegetable mixture. When the pasta is ready, scoop it out with a slotted spoon or drain it and add it to the skillet as well.  Mix everything together and turn off the heat. Stir in about 1/2 cup of sour cream- not so much to make everything white, just enough to make the dish creamy and tangy.

Scoop generous portions onto plates and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Eat and enjoy.


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