Pasta

Two Pantry Standbys Team Up, Make Any Weeknight Pasta Sing

September 11, 2016

Quick dinner recipes are a blessing when you're pressed for time, or generally tired, uninspired, or lacking the energy to peruse a cookbook and make decisions. Simple and fast dinners aren't hard to come by, but it is exciting when you uncover one that's delicious in an unusual way.

That's what I found with this creamy miso chicken pasta. Not only will it easily feed and satisfy a hungry family or crowd, but it's also a perfect candidate for nightly variations: Add fresh vegetables (broccoli, bell peppers, beans, snap peas, corn) or herbs (parsley, rosemary, oregano) or bacon. You could press the leftovers into a hot cast-iron pan to make a crispy noodle cake of sorts.

Photo by Posie Harwood

The pasta sauce gets its creaminess from Greek yogurt, which makes it taste rich but not heavy. To make the sauce, you start off by melting a knob of butter. To the hot pan, you add a hefty dollop of miso paste and whisk it together until smooth. In goes the Greek yogurt (nearly 2 cups!), and some chicken you've just browned in olive oil. Toss all of this with pasta and some leftover pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce, and you've got dinner on the table.

More: Looking for a vegetarian variant? We love yogurty pasta with caramelized onions, too.

Photo by Posie Harwood

You can easily substitute other proteins for the chicken: seared tofu or roasted chickpeas or even fish (though chicken, easy, delicious, and fast, is my favorite choice). Give it a shower of salt and pepper before browning it until very golden (cutting it into bite-size pieces helps here). You want it to retain some texture to stand up to the pasta, and you don't need to worry too much about drying it out as the creamy sauce will coat it.

Photo by Posie Harwood

Besides being a brilliantly easy pasta dish to whip up, this recipe is a testament to what an incredible asset miso paste is to your kitchen arsenal. Don't underestimate how powerfully it can transform a dish, from hummus to porridge to even butterscotch blondies. Here, it adds a savory depth of flavor to the pasta's sauce, giving it that almost indefinable umami taste that makes you want another bite, and another, and another. You'll go overboard and add freshly grated Parmesan at the end too. Now, turn on the stove and start boiling your pasta water already!

What back-pocket tricks do you have up your sleeves for making pasta extraordinary? Share them in the comments.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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2 Comments

foofaraw September 11, 2016
Can you use labneh in this recipe to substitute greek yogurt? We only have labneh in fridge. How much should I use?
 
Author Comment
Posie (. September 11, 2016
Definitely! I'd use the same amount but reserve more of the pasta cooking water--you might need slightly more to loosen the sauce since the labneh is thick.