Almost always in the mood for pasta, I was scrounging around trying to figure out what to make for dinner while at the same time using up bits of things that were in the fridge and freezer. I’m a horrible bit keeper. I’ll keep a bit of this, and a bit of that and before long I’m drowning in bits. Of course, a bit is not enough to do anything stand-alone with and must be incorporated into something else.
As I stood there considering my options, I was reminded of a Malcom in the Middle episode where the mom would take all the bits of leftovers and at the end of the week throw them into a casserole pan and bake it. They had a hilarious name for this casserole, and while this particular gourmand couldn’t possibly go that far I could, with all certainty, incorporate my bits into a stunning pasta dish. Hey, it was even easy on the waist, what could be better?
Pasta with Asparagus, Chicken, Tomato Concasse and Rosé Sauce
1 pound of your favorite pasta, we used farfalle here
1 lb asparagus, cleaned and chopped on a diagonal into 1 inch pieces
1 lb leftover rotisserie chicken (or leftover grilled chicken, baked chicken breast, whatever you have)
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
2 plum tomatoes
1 cloves of garlic sliced thin
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Shredded parmesan for garnishing
2 cups of milk
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine
1 tsp garlic powder
1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, leaving it a bit on the firm side. Reserve about 1/2 a cup of the pasta water. Cool the pasta under cold running water and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan and with the heat on low add the flour and combine into a paste. Allow to bubble for 1 minute then slowly add the milk into the butter/flour paste whisking as you go. Continuing to whisk, allow the mixture to bubble for a few minutes. Add the tomato paste, red wine and garlic powder. Cook at a bare simmer for 5 minutes then set aside.
3. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the asparagus for about 2 minutes or until tender crisp. Cool under cold water and set aside.
4. In a tiny drop of olive oil, cook the red onion and garlic slices until fragrant. Remove from heat.
5. Make a tiny x in the top and bottom of each plum tomato and blanch briefly in boiling water until the skin splits and peels. Remove the tomatoes and peel the skin off. Seed the tomatoes then chop them into a small dice. Add to the cooked onions and garlic.
6. In a large saucepan combine the pasta, the chicken, the asparagus, parsley and pine nuts. Add enough of your sauce to coat, thinning it as needed with the reserved pasta water. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the parmesan and dig in!