Sometimes the meals we make out of desperation are the best meals.
This is my go-to dinner when my herb garden is at its height and I have already made as much pesto as any one person can eat.
I developed the recipe several years ago when my “garden” consisted of five, small pots that were small, but overabundant, and have remade it many times since. I love this recipe because it is so quick and can be adapted in so many delicious ways.
No matter what herbs you are growing, you can most likely make this recipe work for your table. I like to take a pair of kitchen scissors and snip off several handfuls of whatever herbs sound good to me. Rosemary, oregano, basil, or thyme are all great options and you can adjust the quantity of each herb based upon your personal taste. So, of course there is always a whole lot of basil going into my bowl.
Now, grill some chicken. I like to grill chicken super simply by just seasoning both sides with salt and pepper. Once it has cooked, the chicken will be tossed in our no-cook magic sauce, along with our pasta, coating everything in another layer of flavor, so marinating is not essential here.
Cook your pasta - I prefer a linguine or fettuccini - with plenty of salt. It’s a small thing that makes all the difference.
Truly, salt is the small essential that separates a bad bowl of pasta from a great one.
Now, we can assemble our “sauce”.
Olive oil, lemon juice, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, minced garlic, salt, and our finely chopped herbs are whisked together, forming a light sauce that will cling to the steaming pasta.
You will want to place the pasta into the sauce as soon as you remove it from the boiling water, as this will make sure that the pasta does not become sticky, and that the sauce really permeates the pasta.
Toss in the grilled chicken and season the bowl with an extra squeeze of lemon just before serving.
This dish is so fresh and comes together so quickly that it will be a forever favorite of mine.
HERB GARDEN LINGUINE WITH GRILLED CHICKEN
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper, for chicken
1 lb linguine or fettuccine
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus extra for serving
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for the pasta
1/2 cup various herbs (I like to use a mixture of thyme, basil, and oregano), finely chopped
Set your grill to medium high heat and season chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill the chicken breasts until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Then, remove from the grill and allow to cool slightly.
While the chicken breasts grill, fill a 4-quart saucepan with water and season liberally with salt. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. When the water is boiling, add the linguine and cook, until al dente; roughly 10 minutes.
Cook’s Note: Do your best to time the pasta so that it can move directly from the pot to your sauce after being drained. This prevents the pasta from becoming sticky and, the residual heat will help the sauce to cling to the pasta.
While the pasta cooks, whisk to combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, 1/2 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, kosher salt, and herbs in a large bowl.
Slice the grilled chicken diagonally forming thin strips.
Transfer the drained pasta to the large serving bowl and toss to coat the pasta in the olive oil mixture. Toss in chicken and sprinkle the bowl with the reserved Parmigiano-Reggiano and squeeze half of a lemon over the bowl. Serve immediately.