I almost always find there is a "roundabout" way to my best recipes. This was one of those...
My husband saw a recipe on a friend's Facebook page, and asked if I could make it. So I purchased the ingredients needed, then set about making it. Then I started thinking...he loves tortellini, so why not use that as the pasta ? And since it was originally a lemon chicken recipe, why not marinate the chicken with lemon pepper ? I love mushrooms, I should add those as well ! Oh, wait...and onions, and a fresh tomato from the garden...
You can see where this is going. All that really remained from the original recipe was lemon, and chicken. It maybe had spinach, but at this point I had already veered away so far, what else could I do to it ? Substitute a hard goat cheese for parmesan, of course ! And this was the result:
I promised my husband I would post the recipe, so he can make this when I am not here. It may seem like a lot of steps, but it was really not hard at all !
Lemon Chicken with Tortellini and Spinach
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon agave or honey
2 teaspoons fresh cracked pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Marinate at least 3 hours or overnight
For the rest of the dish:
1 small onion, diced finely
8 ounces fresh baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 medium tomato, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil (I used garlic infused, but any good olive oil is fine here)
2 packages cheese tortellini ( I used dry, but fresh will work as well)
3 cups fresh spinach
3 lemons, zested then juiced
1/2 cup salted butter
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
4 ounces hard goat cheese, grated (or parmesan, if you prefer)
Start a large pot of boiling water for the pasta (whatever kind you choose, following package directions). In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, remove chicken breasts from marinade and place in the pan. Cook on one side approximately 5 minutes, then turn and cook and additional 5 minutes. When chicken is lightly browned on each side, and cooked through, remove from pan. Place on a plate to cool, then cut into bite sized pieces.
Check your pasta water, you should be ready to add dried pasta at this point. If using fresh, wait...
In the same saute pan as the chicken, add the diced onions. Saute for 2-3 minutes, then add mushrooms and tomatoes. Saute this mixture until everything is soft and combined, remove from heat. If you are making fresh pasta, add this to the pot of boiling water, and cook while you dice the chicken breast.
At this point your pasta should be cooked. Drain it, reserving about 1/2 cup of liquid. Saute spinach in the liquid until it reduces down, then stir in the mushroom, onion and tomato mixture. Add the tortellini back to the pot, along with the chicken. Stir in the lemon juice, butter and pepper. Make sure it is all well combined, then top with lemon zest and grated cheese.