Chicken-and-pasta dish



February 12, 2003|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,SUN STAFF

Jean H. Carcaba of St. Augustine, Fla., wrote that she was seeking a recipe for Chicken Giardino, which "I recently had at the Olive Garden restaurant. It was one of their healthy choices on the menu. I enjoyed it so much and didn't feel it was a diet meal."

Susan Hitchcock of Sonoma, Calif., wrote: "I am responding to the recipe request for Chicken Giardino from the Olive Garden restaurant. I am a big fan of that dish. Although I do not have their recipe, I do have one that is a close second best. It has become a favorite of my mother's and myself.

"The big difference from the Olive Garden's dish and this recipe is that this recipe does not have the squash and asparagus in it. My hobby is to take a good down-home recipe and make it lower in fat and calories. I have hundreds, and this is one of my favorites. Enjoy."

Chicken Giardino

Serves 4

5 cups (10 ounces) uncooked bow-tie pasta

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces

3/4 teaspoon salt-free lemon pepper seasoning

2 garlic cloves, minced

one 14-ounce can fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 cup shredded carrots

3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with lemon pepper. In a large nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, stir-fry chicken and garlic until chicken juices run clear. Remove and keep warm.

Add broth, peas, carrots, cream cheese and lemon juice to the skillet; cook and stir until cheese has melted. Drain pasta. Add pasta, chicken and salt to vegetable mixture; heat through. Sprinkle with parmesan.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "I chose this recipe because it is a lower-calorie, lower-fat version of the Olive Garden's dish. While the pasta doesn't get a classic creamy white sauce (lots of fat), the chicken broth and low-fat cream cheese combine to form a very appealing creamy sauce that is flavored gently with the vegetables, lemon and garlic.

"I might choose to use chicken tenderloins or even thigh meat for this recipe; stir-fried breast meat can get a little dry. If you wanted to add more nuance to the sauce, you could add 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme or the same amount of chile flakes to lend just a bit of zing."

Recipe requests

Eileen Murphy of Wyman Park is seeking a pasta dish that her friend's mom made and that she loved. She wrote: "I'm looking for the great pasta dish, which used red onions, parmesan cheese and lemon zest."

Alan Turner of Owings Mills is seeking a recipe for "brined turkey for which 2 gallons of orange juice, cilantro and star anise were used. The turkey was marinated for three to four days before being smoked."

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. If you send more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number.

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