Tuscan Green Olive Chicken with Pine Nuts over Whole Wheat Pasta
by Chef Owen May and Dr. Michelle May
We love this fabulous but simple (and healthy) recipe for whole wheat pasta with chicken, green olives, and pine nuts! It reminds us of many of the flavors we enjoyed in Tuscany during our trip to Italy to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.
Before you begin, here are a few tips from the Chef:
- Make sure your pan is hot before adding the olive oil.
- Don’t try to move the chicken around until it releases from the pan; otherwise you get sticking and lose the browning you’re after.
- Cook only half the chicken at a time so each piece has plenty of room. When you overcrowd the pan, you end up steaming the chicken and it doesn’t cook evenly.
Wine suggestion: This meal pairs beautifully with Barba Montepulciano Vigna Franca
These Mediterranean inspired ingredients are rich in healthy unsaturated fats: olive oil, olives, and pine nuts. Using whole wheat pasta instead of regular provides additional fiber and nutrients – and a heartier texture. If you want to increase your vegetable intake easily, use spaghetti squash in place of pasta.
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 Roma tomatoes, diced
¾ cup green olives (pitted), chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts
½ cup feta cheese
1 box of whole wheat pasta (12 ounces), cooked according to package directions
- Heat sauté pan; when pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and half of chicken.
- Allow chicken to cook until it is brown and “releases” from the pan.
- Turn chicken and brown other side.
- Remove chicken from pan and repeat steps 1 and 2 to cook other half.
- Remove chicken from pan.
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and sauté onion until softened.
- Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
- Add diced tomatoes and stir until softened.
- Stir in chopped green olives.
- Return chicken to the pan.
- Sprinkle chicken-tomato mixture with pine nuts and heat through.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Top with feta and cover pan with lid to warm cheese through.
- Place serving of pasta in the center of a plate and top with chicken-green olive mixture.
- Substitute Mediterranean or kalamata olives for the green olives.
- The olive mixture is wonderful over beef tenderloin too. Just sear the beef in a hot pan, then put it into the oven to begin roasting while you prepare the olive mixture. Top the roast with the green olive-tomato mixture and return it to the oven to finish roasting.
- We haven’t tried it yet but we think the green olive mixture would be great over a mild white fish too!
- For a vegetarian version, simply leave out the chicken.
- If you prefer, use spaghetti squash in place of the whole wheat pasta.
Your journey is unique so we provide options to explore mindful eating in a way that meets your needs.