It just might be perfect timing that one of the last recipes featured on the site showed you how to make an alfredo-esque sauce using acorn squash. An easy way to trick the brain into enjoying a healthier version of a creamy sauce for pasta. Well, what you see above is another slick use of veggies if you will. Sometimes when you trick people with a clever food surprise, they either love you for it or feel a little wary of what other things you may have been slipping onto their plate. Maybe you have to ride the line of when to tell them all the details. But you’re only doing them a favor, right? Just keep saying that to yourself until you feel comfortable with your cunning ways.
Leave your tomato sauce to the side and start blending up carrots to dress your pasta. Lots of vitamins, bright color, sweet flavor–they are a great substitute for jarred tomatoes. Dill is not the only herb that goes well with carrots, so feel free to experiment with your favorite greenery. The two together do complement each other well, though. Revel in their pairing when you can. Keep telling yourself it’s quite alright when your guests stick forks into this pasta with no clue it’s full of carrot goodness. Whether or not you reveal the secret is up to you. This is definitely one of those times where you can keep your lips zipped!
Chicken and Penne with Carrot Dill Sauce – Serves 6 to 8
1 pound penne pasta
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, cut into 1″ pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 shallot, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 1/2 cups grated carrots
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup fresh dill
1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, reserving 2 1/2 cups of the cooking water. Toss the pasta with a tiny drizzle of olive oil to keep from sticking together, then set aside.
2. Swirl a bit of olive oil into a medium pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the shallot and garlic and cook until the shallots turn translucent, approximately 3-5 minutes. Add the carrots, stirring occasionally, and cook until they begin to soften and darken in color, approximately 7-9, minutes. Add 2 cups of the reserved pasta water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 3-5 minutes.
3. As the carrots cook down, sprinkle olive oil into a wide, deep pan over medium high heat. While the oil heats, season the chicken with 1/2 tablespoon of the salt and all the pepper, then add to the pan and cook until just done and the meat is white on all sides. Remove from heat, keeping the meat in the pan, and set aside.
4. Remove the carrots from heat and pour into a blender. Process until completely smooth, adding the remaining 1/2 cup of water if necessary. Sprinkle the lemon juice and dill into the carrots and blend again until incorporated.
5. Pour the sauce back into the pan with the chicken, add the pasta and set over medium heat just until the pasta is warm again. Toss to coat and season to taste with the remaining salt.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.