Barry the Basil plant has been whining for weeks, pleading with me to feature him on the blog once again. "But I've grown so big!" he said on Tuesday. "My leaves can offer so much to enhance your cooking!" he asserted on Thursday. By Saturday he'd grown tired of my snubs. "If you don't, I'll wilt!!!" he threatened. Now that got my attention.
So without further ado, please try your hand at this delectable dish where basil stands center stage. I have to respect the hard work devoted by Barry and my devoted botanist (Jay) in the deliverance of extremely flagrant leaves, as there is no arguing that this meal would not compare in awesomeness if dried basil were to be substituted. A zing of lemon juice and slight cheesiness in the light cream sauce stand in as secondary supporting flavors that provide perfect contrast and support for the basil essence.
- small saucepan
- large saucepan
- 3/4 c. skim milk
- ½ c. cottage cheese
- 1 Laughing Cow wedge
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (or the equivalent in powdered or fresh
- ¼ c. fresh basil, loosely packed
- 2 T. lemon juice
- ½ c. water
- ½ T. whole wheat flour
- 1 egg white
- ¼ c. shredded mozzarella (or Italian blend) cheese
- ½ grated parmesan cheese (or a blend with Romano cheese)
- 1 zucchini squash, cut into matchsticks
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
- 6 oz. whole wheat thin spaghetti, cooked al dente
- Drizzle 1 T. of extra virgin olive oil into a large saucepan. Place over medium heat. Add zucchini matchsticks. Cook until they are soft and slightly yellowed in color. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a blender or food processor, whirl together first 6 ingredients for 10-20 seconds.
- Pour the blended sauce into a small saucepan. Pour in ½ c. water, flour, and egg white. Place pan over medium heat. Slowly bring sauce to a rolling boil; stir with a whisk constantly. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, add shredded mozzarella and grated parmesan cheeses. Keep stirring over heat for 5 minutes, until cheeses have melted and sauce has thickened.
- Place large saucepan with zucchini over medium heat once again. Add shredded chicken and sauce. Stir well. Heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until all foods are warmed and sauce begins to boil. Add pasta and stir to incorporate. Heat for another minute or two. Serve warm, topped parmesan cheese and fresh chopped basil.
For us, this made 2 sizeable dinners and one small lunch, but I would say that this serves 2. The servings are dependent on the amount of pasta you use and the size of your zucchini squash.