Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Whole Wheat Penne with Grilled Chicken in a Spinach Sauce

I'm a huge fan of using pureed veggies as sauces, so when I saw this recipe I had to try it. This is from Giada's cookbook Giada's Family Dinners. It was a huge hit with my whole family, especially my little guy. I added grilled chicken to this pasta dish to add protein and make it more of a meal. This is for little ones 10+ months who are ready for finger food.

Here's what you need for 4 servings:
3 to 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts grilled and cut into small pieces
1 pound whole wheat penne
3 garlic cloves
2 oz goat cheese
1 oz reduced fat cream cheese
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
6 oz baby spinach leaves
2 tblsp grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. While the pasta cooks, grill the chicken and then cut into bite size pieces and set aside. Mince the garlic in a food processor. Add the goat cheese, cream cheese, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and half of the spinach leaves. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Place the remaining spinach leaves in a large bowl. Add the drained pasta, and chopped chicken. Scrape the cheese and spinach mixture over the pasta and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking water to moisten (I used around 1/4 cup). Remove your little one's portion and cut into bite size pieces and set aside. Season the rest of the pasta with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, serve and enjoy!

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