I work in theatre. (Read: no money.) Worse than that, I work in youth theatre. (Read: no money.) And to make matters worse, I specialize in "theatre for young performers" and not "theatre for young audiences." (Read: even less money.) Yet, I brought my kids up with Bon Appetit magazine. On a budget, I managed 1-3 Bon Appetit meals per week. (And the eves I worked, I will admit to leaving them with Hamburger Helper to dish up - I know - you needn't tell me.) It did balance the budget. Over the years, some Bon Appetit dishes became staples:
- prosciutto-goat cheese timbales
- roast beef and red pepper sandwiches with tahini dressing
- angel hair pasta with peas, prosciutto and lemon
- Spicy grilled shrimp with lime
- Tuscan steak
- and so many more
My copies of the "Best of Paris," "The Best of Italy,' "The Best of the Mediterranean" etc. are dog-eared and well-used. I could justify my splurge on a dinner by noting that it is a lot cheaper than travelling abroad for some of these meals. And to save even more money (in the olden days), I became the "Queen of Chicken." It worked nicely with my other title as "Queen of No Money."
One day when "life" did its funny detours and the planned dinner was not going to happen, I par-boiled some chicken, boiled some pasta, threw in some peas and then mixed it all together with a bit of butter and olive oil and then smothered it with Parmesan cheese. It was a hit. It became one of my children's favorite meals - enough so that it would be requested as their birthday dinner! So it was no surprise that when I had the April 2009 Tastes of Italia open to their recipe of Penne with Chicken and Rosemary, my daughter changed dinner plans to eat at home. And their recipe is even easier than mine. You don't need to cook the chicken! Just bring home a rotisserie one. However, if you do cook your own chicken, rest assured no one will report you.
YOU NEED FOR 4 SERVINGS:
1/2 pound penne pasta, cooked according to package directions (why do we always say that - will we throw it in raw?) I always cook the full pound of pasta as is my custom - but I didn't need it.
2 cups cooked rotisserie chicken, chopped (It usually comes cooked - has anyone found it uncooked - like the "take and bake" breads?)
3 T olive oil
4 T chopped, fresh rosemary (I used more)
1 garlic clove - minced (yeah, I used more)
3/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese (Okay. You know. I used more)
salt and ground pepper to taste.
Cook pasta. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and combine chicken, rosemary and garlic. Cook on medium for 5-6 minutes. When pasta is done, reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water and add to chicken. Add pasta, cheese, salt and pepper. Toss quickly to mix and serve. It's that easy and so very good. You will be treated as a Queen. Until it's time to do the dishes. And for fun - something that I came across at Noble Pig, I discovered Cream Puffs in Venice Magazine Mondays. For someone who has religiously cooked from magazines for decades, I think I will join them and submit today's meal.