Now, this isn’t something I would normally make. I’ll admit that. The calories are atrocious – the recipe written as is clocked in at near 1500 calories per serving. Yep, that’s right. And it’s no wonder! It’s inspiration was off of the Olive Garden menu, I believe.
So I took this on as a challenge. A challenge to make it my-diet-friendly. A challenge to lower the calorie content without sacrificing flavor. A challenge to add some decadence to our lives.
Tuscan Garlic Chicken
- 1/4 cup white spelt flour + 1 Tbls white spelt flour, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic (about 4-5 cloves)
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips or chopped
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 Tbls freshly grated Parmesan cheese
5 ounces spelt spaghetti
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a shallow pie plate or similar dish, combine the flour, salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings. Dip each chicken piece in the flour mixture until both sides are well coated.
In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat until the oil is hot and shimmering. Carefully place the chicken breasts in the pan, cooking them for 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are golden and browned but not cooked all the way through (they’ll finish up in the oven). Gently remove the chicken to a foil-lined, lightly greased baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Set aside and tent with foil until ready to use.
While the chicken is cooking, heat a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles, cooking until al dente.
In a food processor, puree cashews and almond milk together until smooth. Whisk in cornstarch.
Wipe out the skillet with a couple paper towels and return it to medium heat, adding the remaining 1 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and bell pepper, sautéing for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in one tablespoon flour and stir constantly while cooking for another minute. Add the chicken broth to the skillet and bring the mixture to a low simmer, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Add the milk and cashew mixture to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 2-4 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.
When the pasta has finished cooking, drain and return it to the pot. Toss the pasta with half of the cheese sauce. Place some of the coated pasta on each plate. Top with a breaded chicken breast and spoon some of the sauce over the top of the chicken and pasta. Serve immediately.
Serving Size: One chicken breast and 1 cup pasta
Number of Servings: 2
Obviously, it’s still a bit high in calories and isn’t a meal that would be thrown in to our regular rotation but it was a really nice treat.
So no, this isn’t gluten-free, or dairy-free but if you use a GF flour and noodles instead of spelt and omit the parmesan, it can easily be both.
Cashew cream is becoming my latest obsession. It really is the perfect vegan cream alternative. It certainly isn’t low calorie – but then again, neither is heavy cream.
I think that I generally shy away from sauces… I don’t know if I am scared or it seems like more effort than it is worth or it just isn’t on my radar but I really need to change this mindset. This sauce was creamy and decadent – I was licking my lips all through dinner.
Huz liked it but wasn’t in love with it so I probably wouldn’t make this exact recipe again but I want more creamy pasta dishes in my life.