I’ve been craving pasta like crazy lately. I think part of it is that I’m ready for fall. I’m ready for the homey, comforting dishes, the stick-to-your-ribs food, the sauces. The carbs.
But I’m trying to reconcile that with the fact that summer produce is pretty great – and still pretty prevalent. Despite having a drought in a lot of the US, it seems that everyone still has a lot of zucchini they’re looking to use up. This recipe will not only do that, but it will also bridge the gap between end-of-summer and so-ready-for-fall-and-pumpkins-and-apples-and-stews-I-could-burst.
Really, though, you can use any kind of vegetables in this you want. I liked the ones Jessica used, so I decided to stick with them. This recipe has made the rounds recently and has subsequently gone through a few adaptations. And who am I to keep it the same as the previous person? I ended up using a combination of half and half and chicken broth to keep this creamy, but still keep the fat down a bit. I also doubled the amount of roasted garlic and quite honestly could have easily tripled it, which I may go ahead and do next time. (Dear garlic: I love you.) I roasted the vegetables, since the oven was already on roasting garlic and chicken, so a lot of this dish was pretty hands-off.
Because a lot of the ingredients are the same, this reminded me of the Cajun chicken pasta, except of course the sauce is more garlicky than spicy. Basically, pasta + cream sauce will always win me over, no matter what time of year.
Pasta with Chicken and Vegetables in Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce
2 (or 3!) large heads of garlic
2 small zucchini, sliced or chopped
1 large red pepper, cut into strips
1 large green pepper, cut into strips
8 oz. mushrooms, quartered
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. chicken breasts
.75 cups chicken broth
1.25 cups half and half
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
14-16 oz. pasta (I used whole wheat linguine)
Chopped parsley or basil
Preheat the oven to 400. Remove the outer, thin papery skins from the heads of garlic, keeping the cloves/head fully intact. Slice the top of the heads off, exposing the cloves. Place each head on a square of aluminum foil, on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and loosely wrap in the foil. Roast for about 45 minutes, until the cloves are golden and soft. Set aside to cool slightly. Once cooler, squeeze the garlic cloves out of each head (they should just plop right out). Mash lightly with a fork.
Meanwhile, toss the zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, and olive oil together on a rimmed baking sheet. Season to taste with salt and pepper and roast for about 15-20 minutes, until tender.
Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and roast alongside everything else until cooked through (about 25 minutes for boneless/skinless breasts, about 40 minutes for bone-in chicken).
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt, and stir in the linguine. Cook until al dente, and then drain.
In the meantime, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Stir together the half and half and cornstarch until combined, and then add to the pan with the broth. Add the roasted garlic paste. Simmer until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add the cheese.
Toss together the pasta, sauce, vegetables, and chicken. Sprinkle with basil or parsley and additional cheese as desired.