Gordon has been cooking and experimenting with food since childhood. He loves coming up with new and tasty culinary creations.
Usually, we think of pasta as a hot dish, most commonly served with a tomato-based sauce. However, pasta is in fact delicious in cold salads as well.
This recipe features conchiglie pasta served with traditional salad greens, tomatoes and herb-baked chicken dressed in a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. It is perfect for a summer lunch or an al fresco buffet.
Prep time: 1 hour (includes chicken cooling time)
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour 30 min
Yields: 1 serving
- 2 small skinless chicken breast fillets
- Vegetable or sunflower oil
- Salt and black pepper
- 2 generous pinches dried oregano
- 1 coffee mugful of dried conchiglie pasta
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 or 3 medium to large green lettuce leaves
- 2 inch piece of cucumber
- 6 baby plum tomatoes
Quick Guide Instructions
(Scroll down for detailed instructions with photos.)
- Put your oven on to preheat to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Lightly oil a casserole dish with vegetable oil. Season the chicken breast fillets with salt and pepper and lay them side by side in the dish, presentation sides up. Season further with a scattering of dried oregano. Put the lid on the dish and cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until done.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil before adding the conchiglie pasta. Stir well and cook on a medium simmer for 10 minutes before draining, covering and setting aside to cool.
- Pour the olive oil and balsamic vinegar into a large glass or stone bowl. Season with a generous pinch of oregano, stir well, cover and set aside.
- When the chicken breasts are cooked, lift to a plate, cover and also leave to cool.
- Wash the salad vegetables under running cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Roll the lettuce leaves and shred, cut the tomatoes in half, cut the cucumber in half lengthways and slice into semi-circular pieces. Add all to the seasoned oil, season further with salt and pepper and stir carefully but well.
- Add the cooled conchiglie to the salad and carefully stir through before arranging in a deep plate.
- Slice the chicken breasts across the grain and arrange on top of the salad.
Detailed Instructions (With Photos)
Start your oven preheating to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
Drizzle a little vegetable oil over the base of a casserole dish large enough to hold both chicken breast fillets. Season the fillets on both sides with salt and pepper and lay them side by side in the casserole dish, presentation (smooth) sides up. Scatter over one generous pinch of dried oregano. Put the lid on the dish and place it in to your oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
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Bring a large pot of fairly heavily salted water to a rolling boil. Add the dried conchiglie pasta and stir briefly but well. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain at your sink through a colander and return to the empty pot. Allow to steam off for a couple of minutes before covering and setting aside to cool completely.
Pour the extra virgin olive oil in to a large glass or stone bowl and add the balsamic vinegar. Add the second pinch of dried oregano, stir well and set aside to let the flavours infuse.
Take the chicken breasts from the oven and pierce with a skewer to ensure the juices run clear. if not, cook for five further minutes and test again. Lift to a plate, cover and leave to cool.
Wash the cucumber, lettuce and tomatoes under running cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper.
Roll the lettuce leaves together and shred fairly thinly with a sharp knife. Cut the tomatoes in half down through the centre. Cut the cucumber in half length ways and chop in to crescent shaped chunks. Add all to the seasoned oil, season with salt and pepper and stir with a wooden spoon.
Add the pasta to the salad and season further (if desired) with a little black pepper. Stir fold carefully to combine without breaking up the pasta.
Spoon the pasta salad in to a large, deep plate. Slice the chicken breasts across the way in to 3 or 4 pieces in each instance and lay atop the salad for service.
© 2019 Gordon N Hamilton