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thumbnail1By Tara Duggan, Chronicle Staff Writer

The pasta salad is somewhat decadent, so you don’t need much of it.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 pound small dried tortellini
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 to 2 stalks celery hearts, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 slices prosciutto, diced, or some julienned salami
  • 1 cup small cherry tomatoes, halved if large
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella pearls or about 3 ounces diced fresh mozzarella

DRESSING:

  • 3 tablespoons fresh pesto, stirred before measuring
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pasta cooking water or plain water (if needed)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to package directions. Add frozen peas during the last 5 to 8 minutes so that they cook along with the tortellini.

Meanwhile, flatten chicken breasts with a mallet to a uniform 1-inch thickness. Season with salt and pepper. Grill in a lightly oiled grill pan over medium-high heat until browned, 5-8 minutes per side. Lower heat and continue cooking until no longer pink in the middle but still juicy, about 2-4 minutes. Let rest a few minutes.

When peas and tortellini are done, drain, reserving pasta water for dressing, then gently rinse in cold running water until cool. Allow to drain completely. Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing. If the dressing is very thick, add 1 tablespoon pasta cooking water.

Combine tortellini, peas, celery, prosciutto, tomatoes and mozzarella in a medium bowl. Gently toss with the dressing and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with the chicken.

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