culinary arts college in Baltimore. And they provided me with the opportunity to test one of their recipes. My choice was easy when I read the ingredients for this marvelous Pan Seared Chicken Breast with Wilted Spinach and Angel Hair Pesto. Two ingredients in particular swayed my decision. And they would be the wilted spinach and fennel. To be honest, I've not done much cooking with spinach and I've never tasted fennel. In fact I had to google about fennel. Who knew that it tasted like licorice? With that knowledge, the recipe intrigued me even more.
So here is a check list about my experience making and tasting this recipe:
a. How did you like the dish?
I truly loved it. With every bite I experienced another level of flavor. The bacon, garlic, spinach, basil, and the very subtle taste of fennel worked deliciously together.
b. What did you like about the dish?
I am a lover of all things pasta.
c. How you might suggest improving the dish?
You know the old saying, "Don't fix something that isn't broken." It definitely holds true with this recipe.
d. Will you make this again?
Yes. It presents beautifully so it would be wonderful for a dinner party.
e. Did something funny happen to you while making it?
Yes. I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I had never tasted fennel. In fact I really didn't know what it looked like. Thankfully, everything is marked at the grocery store. So when I was going through the checkout, the bagger looked at it and asked what it was? Mmm... it appears I'm not the only one lacking in knowledge of this vegetable. But I hid my stupidity well and simply replied, "Fennel."
Pan Seared Chicken Breast with Wilted Spinach and Angel Hair Pesto
2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, 3 to 4 ounces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
2 ounces white wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh
3 ounces bacon, fine dice
1 ounce onion, fine dice
1 tablespoon fennel, fresh, fine dice
3 cups spinach, fresh, stemmed
1 cup angel hair pasta, cooked and drained
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
1 clove garlic, chopped
1⁄4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 lemon slice
1 basil sprig
Salt to taste
1.) Season oil by sautéing with garlic in heated sauté pan.
2.) Sauté chicken until lightly brown, approximately 5 minutes on each side.
3.) Remove chicken from pan, keeping warm.
4.) Add bacon, onion and fennel to pan, sauté for until bacon is crisp.
5.) Add spinach and sauté until spinach wilts, seasoning with salt.
6.) In a second sauté pan heat extra virgin olive oil and add pine nuts and chopped garlic. Sauté until garlic is tender.
7.) Add basil leaves, pasta and Parmesan cheese. Toss to combine all ingredients.
8.) Place pasta mixture on heated dinner plate. Top with spinach mixture and chicken breast.
9.) Garnish with lemon and basil.