I love the holidays.
I’m that person who starts watching Christmas movies the day after Thanksgiving – and don’t stop until Christmas, maybe even a few days after, filling the house with decorations and searching for the perfect gifts – which didn’t happen this year… My dad and sister definitely won Santa.
My entire life, mom was what really made this holiday shine. The planning, the details, the thoughtfulness in everything she did. So as expected, this year was a little more tender.
Yes, we all know that we will never be able to duplicate the experiences and traditions that we had with mom, and that’s okay. Now, it’s about making new memories and celebrating the old. And that’s exactly what we did.
We had one Christmas adventure after the next, but what I loved the most was we ALL (my dad, sister & our little family) did it together. I’m always happy to feed my family, but being able to host and cook Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas breakfast, my heart was incredibly full. We stayed up late, we watched Christmas movies, drank more than we should have, and then I passed out blankets and pillows and had one big sleepover. So much love under one roof, it was pretty much perfect.
Now, the holiday hangover…
I packed up the last of the Christmas decorations, the lights have come down and all the presents are put away.
Coming off the holiday high, I totally crashed, emotionally. So, I put myself in the kitchen and had a little therapy session over chopping artichokes and the smell of fresh thyme.
I find after busy weekends (…or the holidays), pasta is my it’s-going-to-be-okay meal.
The inspiration of course, comes from mom. She use to make a similar pasta dish. She’d make it after holiday weekends and after all the “traditional” holiday meals were eaten. She’d crisp up the artichoke hearts and then add to a red sauce before topping with grilled swordfish. If I close my eyes, I can remember the evening perfectly.
Since I know her go-to flavors, I decided to make a version of her dish. I add a few of my own touches, but I very much feel my mom in this meal.
Ben and I sat at the empty table, a glass of red wine and a big bowl of this pasta. We talked about how special this past week had been, how we want to make the best of this next year, and then we thanked mom for everything that she has given us.
This recipe is sponsored by one my favorite company’s, DeLallo. They provided me with their gluten-free products (& compensation). They were also incredibly gracious to our family during our journey with mom. Again, I only work with company’s that I believe in and actually use – they’re absolutely one of them. Everything from the gluten-free pasta options, to the sauces, antipasti, etc. They are top notch.
Pasta with Artichoke Hearts & Chicken
serves 3 big or 4 smaller servings
- 6-8 ounces Gluten-free Penne Rigate Pasta – I like DeLallo
- 2 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 cup artichoke hearts, drained & quartered – I used these
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce
- ground pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- Shaved Parmesan cheese to topping
Cook pasta according to the package. Best to cook al dente.
To cook the chicken – Over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon canola oil to a non-stick skillet. Add chicken pieces, 1/2 teaspoon salt and let brown before moving around with a spatula or wooden spoon. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked through.
Move the chicken to a plate and set aside.
Clean off skillet and then place back on the burner. On high heat, add 1 tablespoon canola oil. Add artichoke hearts and leave to “crisp up” for about 2 minutes. Using a spatula, move artichoke hearts around, let sit for another 2 minutes and continue until lightly browned and somewhat crispy. Reduce heat. Mix in the fresh thyme and garlic. Let the flavors cook for about 1 minute and add tomato sauce. Mix everything together.
Mix in the pasta and chicken back into skillet with the sauce and let everything heat through. Remove from heat and serve.
Top with ground pepper, toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese.
December 29 2014