I found myself in a pinch after work in my dinner preparations. We had leftover vegetable and bean soup that I really could not bring myself to eat again for a third night in a row, but wanting to squeeze in a workout after work too, I needed a quick dinner idea. I knew I had brussels sprouts and some light cream leftover from a quiche (the quiche will come in a later post) that I wanted to use. So, I browsed epicurious using their mobile app on my bus-ride home from work for inspiration. There were a few interesting recipes incorporating pasta and lemons, such as the Linguine with Brussels Spouts Barigoule, which gets its main flavors from white wine and lemons. I knew I didn’t have leeks or savoy cabbage, but using that recipe as my inspiration, I added mushrooms, subbed regular sweet onions for the leeks, turned it into a lemon cream sauce, and topped it with some grilled chicken for my protein loving husband.
After arriving home, I took out the chicken breast tenderloins and got them in a bowl with a lemon and olive oil marinade. I hopped on the treadmill for thirty minutes, showered, and turned out this Lemon Cream Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts, Mushrooms and Grilled Chicken. This recipe took me about 40-45 minutes to put together, without counting the marinating time. If you are new in the kitchen, plan for the recipe to take about an hour or even an hour and 10 minutes, depending on how quickly you chop and how comfortable you are multi-tasking with multiple burners on the stove. You’ll see in the instructions below that I give some hints on multitasking so everything is ready when it is time to combine the elements. The result is well worth it for a weeknight meal. It is hearty and creamy, but the lemon and fresh parsley give it a refreshing lift.
If you have leftover pasta after the grilled chicken is gone, grill or roast some veggies, such as red peppers, zucchinis, onions, mushrooms and even carrots. Combine the leftover pasta with the veggies to make a great vegetarian lunch or dinner for the day after
LEMON CREAM FETTUCCINE WITH BRUSSELS SPROUTS, MUSHROOMS AND GRILLED CHICKEN
1-1/2 pounds of chicken breast tenderloins
2 whole lemons
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2-3 cups of Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 cup of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
½ cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1½ cups cream (I used light cream)
1 12 oz. box fettuccine or linguine (I used 100% whole wheat pasta)
¼ cup flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
Sprinkle the salt and freshly grated pepper on all of the pieces of chicken to ensure they are well-coated. Whisk together, the juice from ½ a lemon, zest from ½ a lemon, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Marinate the chicken in the lemon and oil mixture for at least 20 minutes up to 1 hour at room temperature.
While the chicken is marinating, heat another 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan. Sauté the brussels sprouts a light dose of salt and pepper until the brussels are bright green and softened, about 7 minutes. If your pan is not large enough to hold all of the brussels in about one layer at the bottom of the pan, then sauté the brussels in two separate batches. Remove the Brussels and place in a large bowl.
Using the same pan (you do not need to wash it out), add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and return to medium-high heat. Sauté the mushrooms, until the mushrooms are soft and have reabsorbed their juices. Add the white wine and deglaze the pan with white wine and lightly salt and pepper the mushrooms. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, then remove the mushrooms from the heat. Add the mushrooms and all the liquids to the brussels sprouts in the large bowl. Set the pan aside.
Heat a cast iron grill on high heat. Multi-tasking hint: You can start heating the grill when the mushrooms are cooking. Once the grill is hot, place the tenderloin pieces on the grill, leaving at least ¾ inch of space between the pieces. Grill the chicken for about 5-7 minutes on each side, TURNING ONLY ONCE! Resist the temptation to move the chicken pieces. The key to success in cast iron grilling is placing the meat down and LEAVING IT ALONE until it is time to turn. If you don’t have a cast-iron grill- GET ONE! They are awesome and can be used on gas or electric stoves. If you haven’t gotten one yet, you can broil the chicken for 5-7 minutes on each side. Once the chicken is done (but not overcooked!) let the chicken rest on a plate while you make the lemon cream sauce.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to box instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside. Multi-tasking hint: If you are comfortable multitasking, I recommend starting the pasta water to boil when you make the mushrooms. Once the water comes to a boil, just turn the heat down so the water is at a low boil, then when you are ten minutes or so from serving, turn the heat back up, add the pasta and cook the pasta. I added the pasta to the boiling water, after the onions were soft in the next step.
While the chicken rests, using the same pan from the brussels and mushrooms, add the butter and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add the cream slowly and in a steady stream, stirring constantly. Return to medium heat and bring the cream mixture to a simmer, stirring constantly. Once the cream is simmering, remove from heat, add the zest and juice of 1 lemon, and combine.
Toss the fettuccine, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, and half of the parsley together with the cream sauce. Top the pasta with chicken, more fresh parsley, a touch of fresh lemon juice and a light sprinkle of lemon zest. EAT!