Grilled Chicken and Rigatoni With Gorgonzola, Bacon, and Almonds

Spring 2013

Everyday chicken pasta gets the royal treatment from executive chef Jason LeFevre of Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate in Overland Park, Kan., with the addition of smoky bacon, tangy Gorgonzola cheese, and crunchy almond topping.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
6 medium tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 pounds grilled chicken breast, cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices
4 cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
16 ounces rigatoni
1/2 cup diced Italian pancetta or bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Heat the oil in a large skillet or heavy-bottom pot and cook onions and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine, tomatoes, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes to slightly reduce the wine and let the tomatoes release their juices.

Stir in grilled chicken slices and heat through. Add spinach and toss until spinach is slightly wilted.

Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente; strain and add to saute pan with sauce. Stir in the bacon and heat through.

To serve, sprinkle each serving with nuts and crumbled cheese.

Yield: 6 servings

CHEF’S TIP: “Adding Gorgonzola, bacon, and almonds to chicken pasta revs up the protein count and the flavor profile.”

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