I was reminded yesterday of how often I make something for a meal with inspiration from, not a chef, not a book, not a TV show…no, from my fridge. And how often that inspiration comes so easily because I’m looking for something simple and quick that I can add to pasta.
Many years ago I went with some friends to a local restaurant where I had heard raves about their pasta. We went with some typical expectations and I left with an awe of how simple that dish I had just eaten had been. Pasta with shrimp, garlic and olive oil. I might have initially been surprised that it was sans red sauce but it was the start of a love affair that continues to this day. Truth is, that affair has carried over to pizza as well and I’m more inclined in either case to be more intrigued and ultimately more satisfied with something filled with fresh ingredients and not covered in a heavy sauce.
Of course I had to try to replicate that shrimp and garlic dish at home but more importantly that inspiration led me to often choose olive oil as the base and an assortment of available ingredients on hand for the main ingredients.
And we’ve done it all. Too much zucchini…pasta with zucchini and mushrooms made it to the table. Leftover flank steak? It’s perfect with cherry tomatoes and pepperoncini. Salmon, dill and capers is another favorite and the list could go on and on. And so it was last night. I had leftovers from a roasted chicken I had picked up from Costco the day before; a jar of sundried tomatoes in the fridge and an abundance of onions that I could quickly caramelize. Within minutes, I had the onions on the stove and the garlic and sundried tomatoes waiting their turn while I cleaned some chicken from the bone. From thought to finish in 20 minutes and it was as good if not better as that dish I had those many years ago.
These were great together but I hope you take this simple dish and use it to inspire you too…keep it simple and fresh and you can hardly go wrong!
Pasta with Chicken, Grilled Onions and Sun Dried Tomatoes
Serves 2 as main course dish
- 1/2 lb pasta -I love bow tie pasta but use what you have available, even spaghetti is fine
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
- 2 garlic gloves, minced
- 1 cup diced or shredded cooked chicken (or substitute leftover beef or pork)
- Parmesan cheese
- Boil water for pasta, add 1 tsp salt and cook until al dente, depending on directions for the pasta you are using. Drain when cooked and reserve a couple of tablespoons of pasta water.
- Saute onion in 2 Tbsp of olive oil in large skillet until soft and starting to brown.
- Add balsamic vinegar and cook for one minute longer.
- Add remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil to the skillet; add sun dried tomatoes and garlic and saute for 1 or 2 minutes until garlic just starts to turn golden.
- Add cooked chicken and cook until just heated through. Add a bit of the pasta water if more moisture is needed, although this pasta really has no ‘sauce.’
- Serve in individual bowls with shaved Parmesan cheese on top.