it feels a little superficial to be talking about creamy pasta with chicken and garlic scapes when there is so much going on in our world. heartbreaking, deeply troubling things. things that fire some of us up to go out and DO something about it and that render some of us feeling helpless and unsure of what to do. things that leave many of us holding both of those feelings and the tension that comes with that dissonance.
i surely don’t have the answer. facebook is, as always, awash in articles, event invitations, and opinions. the news media flits back and forth between coverage of the latest development and, increasingly as the days pass, other topics. protests and rallies continue.
while there isn’t one right answer to the question of what to do, one thing that many of us can (and should!) do is make sure we’re registered to vote. i realize that not everyone is able to do this and that others still will face difficulty in trying to exercise their right to do so, but, to me, that makes it all the more important that those of us who can vote, do.
vote.org has a list of voter registration deadlines by state and if you click the name of your state, it’s a link to an online registration form. as of now, there is still time to get registered no matter where you live but as busy summer transitions into busy fall, i hope you won’t let this slip by. it’s too important.
i’ll get off my soap box now and awkwardly transition to talking about creamy pasta with chicken and garlic scapes. it’s comforting without being heavy, which is nice, given that it’s the middle of summer. it’s tasty, easy, and adaptable. the farmers’ market in portland, maine is awash in garlic scapes right now but if you can’t find any (or want to make this recipe at a different time of year), asparagus makes a great substitution (if we’re being honest, the first time i made this, i used asparagus so perhaps technically the garlic scapes are the substitution).
either way, don’t skimp on the garlic cloves as the garlic scapes mellow dramatically when they are cooked and in one version of this pasta that i made with just garlic scapes but no garlic cloves, we really missed the garlic flavor.
ok, friends. let’s all be kind to one another, yes? it would be a start, at least.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 5 oz. (142 g.) garlic scapes or 1 bunch thin asparagus (ends trimmed), cut into 2” lengths
- 1 onion, sliced into half moons
- 3 – 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 7/8 oz. (1/2 cup / 54 g.) sun dried tomatoes, diced (see notes)
- 12 oz. (340 g.) boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
- 8 oz. (227 g.) penne or other short pasta
- 1 oz. (1/4 cup / 28 g.) grated pecorino romano, romano, or parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
- 3 tablespoons light cream
- start a large pot of water boiling and cook the pasta according to the package directions. when it’s cooked, save about half a cup of the pasta cooking water in case you need to thin out the sauce at the end. drain the pasta and return to the pot.
- put the sun dried tomato pieces in a bowl large enough to hold them as well as the onions/garlic scapes/garlic mixture (once it's cooked).
- heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. once it’s hot, add the onion and garlic scapes/asparagus. sauté for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft. add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn. transfer the onion/garlic scapes/garlic to the bowl with the sun dried tomatoes so that the heat can help to further soften the sun dried tomatoes.
- in the same skillet (now empty), heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. add the chicken and sauté, turning frequently, until the chicken is light golden brown and cooked through.
- once the pasta is drained and back in the large pot, add everything (chicken, sun dried tomatoes, onions, garlic scapes/asparagus, garlic, cheese, and cream) to the pot and toss until combined. if needed, add pasta cooking water one tablespoon at a time to thin out the sauce.
- serve immediately with extra cheese passed at the table.
sun dried tomatoes my first choice is to use dry packed but still soft and supple sun dried tomatoes (i hear trader joe’s is a good source for these). if your tomatoes have dried out and are hard, soak them in hot water for a few minutes until they are pliable (but not soft and soggy). you could also use oil packed sun dried tomatoes and pat the extra oil off with a paper towel before using.