Recipe: Caprese Pasta with Grilled Chicken

imageI’m interrupting my regularly scheduled paleo recipe posts in honor of Grandma’s Marathon week! I eat a lot of pasta and carbs during a race week. My stomach doesn’t love it, but my energy levels do. We leave today, and we will be doing some camping on our way out to Duluth. Last night, I came up with a pasta dish that can be served warm or cold, so I’m taking the leftovers along with us so I can continue the carb cycling as we road trip it up north. It came out pretty good, and my husband was a fan, so here’s the recipe! I didn’t write it down as I was doing it, so you may have to adjust the seasonings to suit your taste buds.

Caprese Pasta with Grilled Chicken
Serves 6

imageIngredients

  • 1 lb pasta (penne, rotini, fuselli, etc)
  • 1 lb boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 lb fresh mozzerella, cubed (I got the little round ones and quartered them!
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • 2-4 tablespoons fresh basil to taste, chopped (I just grabbed a bunch from my garden and didn’t measure!)
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • Dried basil
  • Garlic powder
  • Dried mint
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper

Method

Place the chicken in a bowl and toss it with about 1-2 tablespoons of the balsamic, about a tablespoon of the olive oil, and sprinkle with dried basil, garlic powder, dried mint, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir it up and let it chill out on the counter while you prep the rest of your ingredients.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook per the package directions. I like to do the al dente thing. Reserve a few tablespoons of the pasta water before draining the pasta. Drain, and toss with a tablespoon of the olive oil and set aside.

Preheat your grill, and cook the chicken. While the chicken is done cooking, set aside and cut into cubes or strips.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet on low heat. Add the fresh garlic and a pinch of the dried basil, mint, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Cook for about 30 seconds – don’t burn the garlic!! Add some of the reserved pasta water and the last tablespoon of the balsamic. Whisk it, let it cook down for a minute or two. Add another pinch of dried basil, mint, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. There won’t be too much “sauce” in the pan – just enough to coat the pasta.

In a bowl, toss the pasta with the “sauce”. Add in the tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil. Top with your chicken, and enjoy!

There’s probably a lot of other great ingredients you could add to this…I had a fridge full of random tomatoes that I was trying to use up and wanted to start eating some pasta in preparation of the upcoming marathon. If you try it, let me know what you think!

What do you like to eat before a big race?

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20 thoughts on “Recipe: Caprese Pasta with Grilled Chicken

  1. The Fit Foodnista June 16, 2015 / 8:28 am

    This look amazing and right up my alley!! need this in my life

    • allisonfiorini June 16, 2015 / 8:30 am

      Let me know if you try it! I’m a sucker for anything with the word caprese. I think it’s the fresh mozzarella that does it for me!

  2. suzysuzyheather June 16, 2015 / 9:24 am

    Looks yummo. And omg you leave today! SO EXCITED! I feel like you’re just ahead of me when it comes to marathon times, so I’ve put all this pressure on you to do amazing this weekend. Ha ha! I need to know you can do it so that you can inspire me too. I need to do a marathon sometime soon, but I feel like I need to get a couple months of solid training in before I can even attempt a near 3 hour marathon. But anyway, go nail it, Alison! YOUUU CAN DOOOOO IT!

    • allisonfiorini June 16, 2015 / 12:14 pm

      Ahhhhh yes we are leaving in a few hours!! So stoked. I’m soooooo not ahead of you – you are freaking speedy, sister!!! Thank you for the motivation!!!

  3. Anna @ Piper's Run June 16, 2015 / 9:53 am

    I saw this on your IG and thought that I needed to make that ASAP! Sounds and looks great! I’m a big pasta eater the night before a race. I have a vegan avocado pesto pasta (from Oh She Glows) that I love to have before a race.

    • allisonfiorini June 16, 2015 / 12:12 pm

      Mmmmm I need to get that oh she glows cookbook!!! I keep hearing awesome things about it!

  4. Jamie June 16, 2015 / 10:42 am

    DELISH! I usually carb up about 72-48 hours before a race, then return to a normal diet, but a bit more calorie dense. I think my body functions best with energy stores, but I need to be careful not to over do it and end up feeling heavy and bloated on race day. This dish looks absolutely delicious ! So excited for marathon week to be here!!! Good luck 🙂

    • allisonfiorini June 16, 2015 / 12:11 pm

      Yes I actually eat more 72-36 hours before and then not a ton the day before the race so I don’t feel full and bloated!! Great minds think alike 🙂

  5. DarlinRae June 16, 2015 / 10:43 am

    Oh my, this sounds delicious, and such an easy summer dish!

    • allisonfiorini June 16, 2015 / 12:10 pm

      So easy! Had it on the table in about 30 minutes!

  6. Sweaty Mess June 16, 2015 / 11:41 am

    This looks amazing! I bet it’s awesome cold too. I haven’t really figured out my fueling strategies other than to not eat anything new or too “out there” the night before. I know what works, but I would like to experiment with what might help in the week leading up to a race.

    • allisonfiorini June 16, 2015 / 12:09 pm

      As the week goes on my diet gets very bland and mostly just carbs and protein. This will be good for today maybe tomorrow, but since to a Saturday race I’ll probably start eating more bland stuff tomorrow afternoon. Blah! The things we do for running!

  7. Maddie @ Dixie Runs June 16, 2015 / 12:20 pm

    YUMMMM, looks delicious!! I don’t usually eat a lot of pasta, so I stick to “normal” food before a race, but I try to avoid red meat.

  8. Alanna June 16, 2015 / 2:38 pm

    This looks great!! I’m a vegetarian but it’s easy enough to substitute some for a veggie “meat.” I love anything of the Caprese nature since tomatoes and mozzarella are two of my favorites.

  9. Fallon @ Slacker Runner June 17, 2015 / 12:23 am

    That looks amazing. It’s the first time I think I miss pasta since I cut way back on carbs. 😦 I usually eat a burger or steak before a big race. Kind of odd but it works for me. Have a great trip!

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