Photo by Quentin Bacon, food styling by Suzanne Lenzer, and prop styling by Maeve Sheridan
This satisfying meal-in-a-bowl is loaded with deep, savory flavor thanks to its wealth of umami rich ingredients –mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, chicken, and spinach— which layer synergistically for a flavor that is bigger than the sum of its parts. The earthy ingredients are also ideal to complement the lightly nutty flavor and texture of the whole-grain pasta. This whole grain penne with chicken dish is complete in every way – balanced in vegetables, whole grains, and protein – and totally fulfilling.
Whole Grain Penne with Chicken, Mushrooms and Spinach
12 ounces whole grain penne pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion
8 ounces sliced assorted fresh mushrooms (ie: cremini, oyster, shitake, portobello)
3 gloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes (about 6)
3 cups baby spinach leaves
1 ½ ounces parmesan cheese (½ cup grated)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a very large skillet over a medium-high heat. Slice the chicken into thin (¼ inch) strips. Season it with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook until browned and just cooked through, stirring once or twice, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. While the chicken is cooking, slice the onion thinly into half moons.
Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add the mushrooms and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their water and begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, mince the garlic and chop the thyme leaves. Add them to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more.
Add the broth, thyme, red pepper flakes, and remaining ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over a high heat then cook, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced by about half, 5 minutes. While the sauce is reducing, thinly slice the sundried tomatoes, coarsely chop the spinach, and grate the cheese. Once the sauce is reduced, stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted, 20 seconds.
Drain the pasta and return it to the pasta pot. Add the mushroom-spinach mixture, chicken with any accumulated juices and ¼ cup of the parmesan cheese and toss to combine. Serve garnished with additional cheese.
Makes 4 servings
Serving size: 2 cups
Calories 580; Total Fat 15 g; (Sat Fat 3.5 g, Mono Fat 6.7 g, Poly Fat 1.4 g); Protein 38 g; Carb 75 g; Fiber 10 g; Cholesterol 60 mg; Sodium 640 mg
Excellent Source of: protein, fiber, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, selenium
Good Source of: vitamin A, vitamin C, copper