Pastina is one of my favorite things. These little stars of pasta cook up fast and are perfect in soups or with just a little butter and grated cheese. They’re also a quick fix if you’re craving risotto but don’t have the time or inclination to stand around stirring (and stirring and stirring!)
Here, they become the ’stars’ in this Stars & Stripes dish, and are enveloped in a mild and creamy blue cheese sauce. The ’stripes’ are the sweet red pepper strips and sliced grilled chicken.
Red peppers. White-meat chicken. Blue cheese. Hmmmm…this dish may have an Italian accent, but it’s quite patriotic, and makes for a delicious inauguration week dinner.
Here’s a photo of the Stars and Stripes Chicken below.
1-1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 3 large breasts)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp white wine
3 large garlic cloves, minced
Pinch or more red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp coarse salt
Fresh black pepper
12 oz box pastina
1-1/2 cups milk
5 oz blue cheese or Gorgonzola, cut into small pieces or crumbled
3 Tbsp minced scallion (green part only)
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp white pepper (or to taste)
Roasted red pepper strips (about 1/2 cup)
Chopped parsley and/or chopped olives and capers for garnish (optional)
Place the chicken breasts in a bowl and add the olive oil, wine, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and a few gratings of black pepper. Mix thoroughly; cover and let marinate.
Cook the pastina in salted water according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, heat the milk and the scallions in a large saucepan; add the blue cheese and stir until melted. Add the salt and white pepper.
Drain the pastina and add it to the cheese sauce. Stir, adjust seasonings, cover, and keep warm.
Broil or grill the chicken breasts until just cooked through (about 7 minutes); allow them to rest for a few minutes.
Spread the pastina on a large heated platter, making a mound in the center. Slice the chicken breast on the bias into 1/2 inch pieces and arrange the pieces in a circular fashion around the plate, alternating with pepper strips. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and/or olives and capers, if desired.
Also, to continue the Washington, DC related theme, Anthony Bourdain goes to the District of Columbia as part of his No Reservation’s show. The episode airs tonight at 10PM.
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