We're nearing the end of summer and that, in itself, seems like a ridiculous sort of thing to be saying. How is summer almost gone already?! My oldest has started preschool. A year from now, he'll be going to kindergarten. And that's all I'm going to say about that... *sniff sniff*.
Anyway, I think this is a nice sort of meal to bridge the seasons. It's loaded with veggies, but the pasta is tossed in a luscious roasted garlic cream sauce, which makes it feel very rich and fall-like. This pasta tastes like something you'd order in a restaurant -- but you get to make it at home and eat it in your bare feet, which is always a plus in my book. :)
Chicken and Vegetable Pasta with Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce
adapted from Sunny Side Up in San Diego
1 head of garlic
Salt, pepper and olive oil for roasting
2 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
12 ounces penne pasta
1. Preheat oven to 375. Cut the top off of a head of garlic to expose the tops of cloves. Place on a sheet of aluminum foil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Loosely wrap the aluminum foil around the garlic, pinching the seams to seal. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the cloves are tender and start to turn golden brown. Allow to cool.
2. While the garlic is roasting, heat some olive oil in a large skillet. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through. Allow the chicken to rest, covered with aluminum foil, until you're ready to serve.
3. Cook the penne to al dente in boiling salted water.
4. In the same skillet you used for the chicken, melt the tablespoon of butter and olive oil. Add zucchini, red bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms and cook until onions are translucent and the mushrooms are browned. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the cloves into the skillet. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to break up the garlic and mix into the vegetables.
5. Add the white wine and stir until reduced by half, using a wooden spoon to release the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Stir in cream and heat through until slightly thickened. Add the parmesan cheese and stir to melt. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
6. Add the sauce to the penne and arrange each portion on a plate. Slice the chicken into thin strips. Top each serving with some sliced chicken and additional parmesan cheese.