|Spicy Pasta Alfredo with Veggies|
1 lb. pasta, uncooked (I used macaroni, but I really like penne or rigatoni)
4 oz. can mushroom slices, drained
12 oz. grilled/roasted chicken breast, diced
16 oz. Ragu cheesy garlic sauce (their version of alfredo)
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
2 oz. mini pepperoni
2 cups baby spinach
1 clove garlic, minced
red pepper flakes (to taste)
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
Cook pasta per directions-being sure to salt the water to add flavor to your pasta, reserve one cup of starchy water from pasta once cooked and drain. In a large sauce pan, spray liberally with non-stick cooking spray, heat on medium and saute zucchini for 2-3 minutes. Next, add tomatoes.
The idea here is to cook the veggies that take the longest, first and add the ones that don't take very long as we go. Again, saute for just a couple of minutes. The tomatoes should just be warm, not ready to burst. Next, add the mushrooms.
Doesn't this look yummy? Now we're at the point where the mushrooms are already cooked and just need to heat up. This doesn't take very long, maybe a minute or two. Just stir the vegetables so that the heat is evenly distributed. Here comes the good part: baby spinach!
Because you just want the spinach to wilt a little, you can literally put it in the pan, stir it around and it's done. Like 20 seconds! Now, pour the veggie mixture onto the pasta. Into the skillet will go another shot of non-stick cooking spray, the chicken, pepperoni and red pepper flakes. I use just a couple of good shakes on the red pepper flakes. It lightly warms the tongue without feeling like you're on fire.
Since the chicken and pepperoni are both cooked, they only need to heat for 2-3 minutes. Add minced garlic at this point. Just give them a good stir to keep from sticking. Next, add the pasta sauce. Once you've dumped the jar onto the meat, pour the cup of reserved liquid into the jar, cap it and shake vigorously. Pour over mixture.
Here's the best part! It's almost done! Just give this a good stir, cook for 3-4 minutes until the sauce is heated thoroughly and pour over pasta, veggie mixture.
Once the sauce is on, return mixture to heat and incorporate by gently stirring. You don't want the veggies to break down, but just enough that the sauce covers everything.
Salt and pepper to taste. You may find it doesn't need much since there's seasoning on the chicken, pepperoni and in the sauce. I literally used a dash of black pepper in mine, no salt needed.
I served mine with garlic knots (mmm, my favorite!). It's a big hit in my family and you'll soon see why! Give it go and see what happens at your house!
NOTE: In place of or in addition to the zucchini, I've used eggplant, squash, okra, really any summer veggie is great! Just don't add too much as it makes the dish mushy! You can also substitute your favorite green in place of the baby spinach!