Whole Wheat Penne with Chicken, Gorgonzola and Arugula

Apr 28th
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And asparagus. And walnuts. The original title filled the title space to the max so I had to leave some out. I’ve been majorly craving stinky cheese lately so I apologize for all the blue; hopefully you’re team stank and are welcoming these recipes. This pasta is delightful AND quick – you should make it soon.

But only if you like stinky cheese, because there’s a lot of it in here. This will come together for you in 30 minutes (less if your ingredients are prepped ahead). I used pre-chopped walnuts and pre-washed arugula – you could shave off even more minutes by using pre-crumbled cheese. Either way, it’s quick enough for a weeknight dinner and most definitely fancy enough for company; served with lots of white wine and grilled bread. Yum.

You might be used to seeing arugula in salads – did you know it could be wilted down like any green? The peppery bite mellows as it wilts and I love it in pasta as well as soups. Greens are good – all greens, so don’t rush to swap this with kale (especially those of you who found this on Pinterest – you heart kale).

Whole Wheat Penne with Chicken, Gorgonzola and Arugula

Serves 6

1 lb. whole wheat penne (1/2 c. reserved pasta cooking water)

5 tbsp. olive oil, divided

2 large chicken breasts or 5-6 tenderloins

1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 in. pieces

1 c. chopped walnuts

7 oz. (6 c.) arugula

1 1/2 c. crumbled gorgonzola cheese

3 tbsp. champagne vinegar (sub white wine if that’s what you have)

1. Heat a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add 2 tsp. salt. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Before draining, reserve about 1/2 c. water. Drain pasta and return to pot covered and off heat.

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2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Cook chicken until golden brown and cooked through, sprinkling with salt and pepper on each side. Remove chicken from pan. Chop when cooled.

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3. Add another tbsp. of oil to pan. Add asparagus as well as 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper; cook for 1-2 minutes or until starting to brown.

4. Add walnuts and cook for about 4 minutes or until walnuts are toasted.

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5. Add arugula (a bit at a time, if you’re worried about overloading the pan) and stir frequently until wilted.

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6. Meanwhile, remove lid on pasta pot and turn on low heat. Add remaining 3 tbsp. olive oil along with vinegar and stir to coat.

7. Add arugula mixture along with chopped chicken and cheese to pasta and stir to combine. Serve immediately, adding reserved pasta water a tbsp. at a time for moisture, if needed. This water is especially important if NOT serving immediately. 

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