Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ricotta Sauced Chicken PASTA ala Kalyn's Kitchen

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Hello again my friends, old and new...
Old friends will know me as Dave from my blog "My Year on the Grill".  You new folks probably found this blog while looking around the website,  "".  Either way, I am the driving force behind both.Welcome to my series of posts highlighting recipes that I personally have cooked (with a few adaptations, I am one of those cooks that just can not follow a recipe word for word, but I always find inspiration).  All of the recipes featured on this blog have appeared on  The site dedicated to bloggers as a place to see and to be seen.  One of the many features on eRecipeCards is an electronic recipe box set up for each individual user.  This eRecipeBox holds whichever of the submitted recipes on the site for easy access.  Easy to find whenever it clicks your memory. This particular recipe was added a couple of weeks ago.  I knew I wanted to give it a try, so I saved it in my eRecipeBOX, and fast as you can say, "Bob's your Uncle", it was only two clicks away from being found.  If you are not making use of the eRecipeBox on the site, bet your system of finding a recipe again is more complicated.... But I digress...

This post came from a new blogger buddy Kalyn from KALYN's KITCHEN.  Kalyn is an old pro at blogging, in her 7th year!  She is active as a BLOGher contributing editor, as well as a panelist at their conventions   She also posts nearly every day.  She has achieved a near impossible feat, she dropped 40 pounds 7 years ago and has maintained that weight loss the entire time!  Her blog features healthy interesting food, with fresh ingredients.  Each and every recipe she posts helps show the joy her kitchen shares with her huge family.  Old and new bloggers alike should take a leap over and look through her body of work.  Inspiring, informational and darn good recipes...

I was drawn to the recipe because of it's use of Ricotta cheese as the base for the sauce.  And at this stage, I highly recommend you jump over to her recipe to see what she did.  My efforts are very much "inspired by", as opposed to a direct remake of her dish.

First, I had a very nice patch of Arugula growing in my garden, but I picked most of it earlier in the week.  BUT, I did have a nice bit of baby spinach, which she did recommend in her post.  She also used basil and a bit of pesto in the dish.  At some point soon, I plan to harvest my basil and make up a batch of pesto.  But not this day.  But I added a few nuts, some extra oil, garlic and spinach to the ricotta to make a creamy spinach cheesy pesto.

And finally, as I do most nights I make a pasta, I hunted through my garden and tossed in a few "extras".  What's pasta without peppers.  I have a nice variety ranging from sweet banana peppers to some VERY hot little gems.  I seeded them, made a thick dice of em and added them to a diced up sweet candy onion.  And I topped the whole thing off with some halved cherry tomatoes (also from the garden).

Now, I knew there was a VERY hot pepper in this mix.  So I sauteed these in just 1 TBS of Butter and a sprinkling of brown sugar (maybe a tsp) until the onions and peppers caramelized.  The sweet and the heat liquid produced during the caramelization and sweating of the viggies, combined with the tang of the sweet Ricotta made an excellent sauce.  Certainly not Kalyn's original, but a fine tribute to her inspiration!

 The biggest change, I switched her vegetarian pasta dish to one topped with slices of a Honey Mustard chicken breast I had grilled up earlier.  For that recipe (also inspired from a post I saw on, you will need to look up yesterday's post of Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken ala My Tasty Treasure

OK... Here's what I did...

24 ounces of whole wheat spiral Pasta, cooked 9 minutes nicely al Dente
12 ounce Ricotta Cheese
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
a couple of Pinches of Salt and Pepper

A BIG batch of Spinach, stems removed
 (probably at least as much as in the bags they sell in the store)

a second batch of Spinach (about a cup) to make the spinach pesto, minced
1/2 cup walnut pieces (it's the nuts I had in the pantry, I am under strict orders from my wife not to buy ingredients I rarely use for a second dish.  I love walnuts and they make a fine pesto, but Pine nuts is generally the accepted ingredient for pesto)
5 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup EVOO (more of the oil)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese (grated)
another pinch of Salt and pepper

Handful of peppers, mixed varieties
1 large Candy Onion
1 TBS Butter
1 tsp Brown Sugar

2 cups Cherry Tomatoes, halved

Sounds like a lot of ingredients, but if you use a pre-made pesto, and do not take the time to caramelize the peppers and onions, it comes together VERY fast.

  • In order, I grilled the chicken
  • I started caramelizing the onions and peppers
  • I cooked the pasta as directed, drained
  • While the pasta was cooking, I made the pesto, combining the spinach, walnut pieces, minced garlic, Parmesan cheese and Olive Oil.
  • When that was ready, I worked on the sauce, just combining the Ricotta, 2 TBS EVOO, Parmesan Cheese, Lemon Zest
  • When the onions and peppers were nicely caramelized, there will be about 1/4 cup of liquid in the pan.  It has a WONDERFUL flavor, not to be lost.  I added the big batch of spinach to the liquid and allowed the spinach to cook in the HOT and sweet sauce.  This really made the sauce special (if you like the heat from those little peppers).  
  • I mixed the pasta, peppers/onions/spinach and the walnut-spinach pesto together
  • topped with the chicken slices, tomato slices and some more grated Parmesan Cheese!
We had a small dinner party, single dish and it was incredibly well received!  FILLED with layers of flavors, just spicy enough to keep me happy and creamy goodness of the sauce.


This recipe has been added to my growing list of "52 Uses For a Rotisserie Chicken"  (Now close to 100!)...I am so confused... $5.49 for a fully cooked, fully seasoned Oven Roasted, Rotisserie Chicken. Yet shop in the raw meat department and most raw chickens are at best $8 each and usually far closer to $10. Anyone have an answer??? Me either. So, I can either rail against the machine, or learn to embrace the beauty that is the $5 chicken! In this pin are recipes I have made, and recommend. MORE than 52 (I just can't stop)..
You get the idea.  From Scratch Pizza to Chinese Take Out recipes, Lots of Soups and Chili... Appetizers to Main Courses (Still can't find a dessert, but I am looking).  More than enough ideas for that store nought bird to shine with just a little extra work


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  1. So glad the recipe inspired you, and thanks for all the nice remarks about me and my blog.

  2. Hi Dave, nice to meet you here :)