Friday, June 15, 2012

Chicken Pasta Salad...

Chicken Pasta Salad, originally uploaded by riptideredsf.
...or another refrigerator rescue triumph! Earlier in the week I returned to a sadly neglected little kitchen after 10 days of toiling away in other creative endeavors and catching meals on the fly while in dress rehearsals for this.
I didn't know what to expect when I opened my apartment door let alone my refrigerator. I hadn't really planned to be away the entire duration of tech/dress so I entered the apartment expecting the worst. After a few sniffs  I was relieved there was no rotting  garbage or manky dishwater waiting for me. The fridge, I suspected, may be a different story. Again, I was pleasantly surprised as I cautiously eyeballed, sniffed and tasted my way through cheeses, creams and yogurts. So, with only my own gut at risk, I deemed the cooked chicken breast, asparagus, two red peppers, goat cheese, homemade mayo (first instinct was to toss it~it was just too damn good to throw away), greek yogurt, sour cream and dill saveable and yes! one lemon that had not yet shriveled into a petrified stone.
It was 10pm and I needed lunch for the office for the next few days. Pasta salad! Brill!
This was soooooo good, that while I was eating the first few bites I was already jotting down my grocery list for the next day: Asparagus, chicken, goat cheese...this is always a good sign of little kitchen success, making immediate plans to make it again.
I did. This time adding avocado and cherry tomatoes. Otherwise I didn't change a thing.
Here's my half-assed recipe:

1 lb. of cooked chicken breast shredded
1 lb asparagus (cut on the diagonal in 1" pieces)
1 lb of rotini pasta

Cook the pasta until its almost done then add the asparagus and blanche for about a minute (have a bowl of ice water nearby). The asparagus will float so it's easy to skim off with a slotted spoon. Transfer the asparagus into the ice bath and then drain the pasta. I drain it quickly and leave it pretty wet when I dump it back into to pot. I toss in a little olive oil, salt and pepper so the pasta doesn't stick together while it cools. I don't rinse it in cold water.

In a large bowl whisk together:

mayonnaise~the homemade mayo was the inspiration for this dish otherwise this would have been a baked ziti
sour cream
* not necessary to use all three -I had about a 1 1/2 cups of dressing total
zest from one lemon
juice from one lemon
red pepper sliced thinly
a couple of dashes of hot sauce (I used tapatillo sauce)
a couple of dashes of worchestershire sauce
salt to taste
fresh ground pepper

then I toss in the chicken to get it coated
toss in the cooled pasta
toss in the asparagus
toss in 1/2 c. shredded parmesan
toss in 1/2 c.crumbled goat cheese

Just before serving I top it with sliced cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado and a little shaved parm. This really isn't necessary but I had it.