Do we have to fight for the right to eat healthy...I think not. With a little imagination and some great flavor a dish is born. I am always experimenting with flavor and adding something new to the food rotation in my kitchen and my latest and greatest, of course, has a story.
Once upon a Saturday night I sit quietly with my glass red wine and my new lap top computer. I decide to scour the Internet in search of recipe contests. I figure why not a recipe contest I wrote a cookbook. So I begin the hunt. To my amazement there just under a million recipe contests. Tuna, wine, vegetables, cakes, turkey - where to begin. I click on vegetable side dishes something I love to make and I successfully submit a recipe to Food 52 for my Onion Sage Tart- which if you were wondering I did not win. Onward to the next recipe contest. The Aetna Healthy Food Fight. Interesting...heart healthy, low sodium....Ok let's give this a whirl.
I begin putting in the ingredients for my Red Pasta dish and it bounces back saying too much of this, too little of that, no protein, etc. etc. etc. The parameters of this contest are very specific. Ok I amened the recipe maybe I should say I totally revamp the recipe and create something new. It has the basic idea of my original recipe but it is completely different. Here goes...
1 lb. of Whole Wheat Pasta
3 Garlic Cloves (peeled)
1 (12oz.) Jar of Roasted Red Peppers
1/2 Cup Shredded Rotisserie Chicken (dark meat preferred)
2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon of Fresh Ground Pepper
1 Tablespoon of Parmesan Reggiano Grated Cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Drizzling
Well it sounds pretty good despite the fact it has whole wheat pasta as the main ingredient - as you can tell by now whole wheat pasta is not a favorite among my kitchen. The recipe passes the test and it gets posted to the Aetna Healthy Food Fight website among the other recipe submissions. I vote on it and so does my husband. Watch out 2 total votes for the imaginary Red Pasta dish.
About 2 weeks pass and I get an e-mail that this recipe has been chosen to compete At the Apple Festival in Bucks County Pennsylvania and I have 24 hours to respond if I will be competing or not. This is all very exciting but the big question remains what in the world does this recipe taste like? So my husband and I decide to go ahead and respond "Yes" to the invite and take the recipe for a test kitchen run the following night for dinner. I follow my recipe exactly and WOW it is so delicious even with whole wheat pasta. We decide to take it to the Aetna Healthy Food Fight Challenge - Apple Festival in Bucks County!
So after a week long of e-mailing back and forth with mt representative at Healthy Food Fight we are a go. Time slot secured, ingredients on the shopping list, directions, etc. I get another e-mail...unfortunately we cannot provide you with a Rotisserie Chicken it is considered a pre-cooked item and not an ingredient. I am now disqualified from the Healthy Food Fight Challenge. I send back a polite e-mail and decide it was not meant to be but was meant to be was the creation of Red Pasta Take II.
So I challenge all of you to make this recipe and know that this dish is heart healthy and delicious. We do not ever have to settle for healthy eating. Healthy eating comes from great, fresh ingredients and it can be done with or without a Rotisserie Chicken.
Cook the pasta according to directions and drain well
In the meantime place garlic cloves and roasted red peppers (with the juice)
In a food processor/blender and process or blend on slow until garlic and peppers are minced
In a small skillet, heat Extra Virgin Olive Oil and season with pepper
Add chicken and garlic/pepper mixture to skillet and cook till warmed
Toss mixture with hot pasta and drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Top with cheese
Serve alongside a garden salad