Feb 2012

Chilled Penne w/Rotisserie Chicken + Currants

This simple bite turned out to be just what I was looking for – a little lemon does wonders to brighten a dark winter day and hint at spring.

This quick pasta dish is all about assembly and I am more than happy to allow a rotisserie chicken to get me off the hook for a night. Any unused portion can be reserved for another use [aka, your husband’s lunch]. Do not substitute regular almonds for the Marconas, they are an important component here with their rich flavor and hearty crunch.

In the interest of strategy: this pasta was perfectly delicious on day two, but there are a few things to know. Cooking and chilling your pasta in advance and mixing in the rotisserie chicken and remaining ingredients just before serving, leaves the nuts at their crunchiest and the pasta its most al dente. Consider getting your pasta in the fridge before heading out the door to work, returning later with a cooked chicken in hand. Oh, and a liberal sprinkle of Maldon salt just before taking your first bite is highly advisable.

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3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken breast  [about 3/4 pound]
8 oz penne pasta
1/4 cup roughly chopped Marcona almonds
7 oz container Fage 2% yogurt
1/2 cup dried currants
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 lemon [zest + 2 T juice]
2 T reserved pasta water
salt + pepper to taste

*Marcona almonds are available at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, specialty food shops + Costco

Serves 4. Calories 475

Adapted from Martha Stewart. Cook the penne in salted water to al dente, drain [reserving 2 T pasta water] transfer to large bowl, cover and chill until ready to assemble. Add the remaining ingredients into the  bowl, toss gently, and serve.

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