Trouble With Toast

Recipe: Roast Chicken with Pasta Gratin | October 4, 2010

Whoops, things got a little crazy at the end of last week (wrapping up the fiscal year and what not), so I didn’ t get to post the last recipe from The Athlete’s Palate.  So, here it is!  The recipe was contributed to the book by Chef Kevin Crawley of the Coriander Bistro (located in the Boston suburbs).

As with all three dishes from this cookbook, this meal had highs and lows.  The chicken was just fine, and the roasted vegetables were absolutely delicious, but the gratin was a big disappointment.  It was dry, bland, and not comforting at all – in other words, it was the polar opposite of what a gratin should be.  Looking back at the recipe, I realize that it doesn’t call for nearly enough cheese for the amount of pasta, and the fact that the listed cheese are low fat/low moisture doesn’t help, either.  The other problem with the dish as a whole is its lack of presentation points – as you can probably imagine by looking at the ingredient list, all three components are pretty beige and earth toney.  Perhaps serving the chicken and veg with the previously posted pesto orzo would be a good way to get some carbs AND some green on the plate?

I suppose the lesson to learn here is that watching what you eat is all fine and good, but some foods just can’t be made any healthier without losing what makes them great in the first place – and if you love those foods, there is no shame in enjoying them (in moderation, of course).


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1 onion, diced
    2 carrots, 1/2-inch dice
    2 parsnips, 1/2-inch dice
    1 celery root, 1/2-inch dice

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Sear one side for five minutes over medium-high heat in a nonstick, oven-proof saute grill pan. Turn the chicken over and add the vegetables. As the vegetables begin to brown (about six minutes), turn them over and place the pan in a preheated 400 degree oven until the chicken is cooked (seven to 10 minutes). Remove chicken and let it rest while the vegetables finish cooking in the oven (about five minutes more). Serves four.


  • 12 ounces farfalle noodles
    2 tablespoons part-skim ricotta
    1 tablespoon Mascarpone (or use 2 tablespoons cream cheese total)
    1 tablespoon low-fat cream cheese
    1 ounce goat cheese
    2 tablespoons half and half (optional)
    3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
    Salt and Pepper to taste

Follow package directions to cook pasta al dente. Mix together cheeses; thin with half and half if desired. Toss cooked pasta with the cheese mixture and pour into a two-quart casserole dish and top with Parmesan. Place under the broiler (450 degrees) until the cheese has browned, about five to eight minutes. Serves four.


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