This recipe is a tweak of Giada’s Baked Lemon Ziti. I made her original recipe before, but it was too dry for our taste and I was disappointed because I had tried it before I added the bread crumbs and before I had baked it and liked it a whole lot better than when it was done. So this is what I’ve done since. Basically it’s her recipe pre bread crumbs and pre baking with added grilled lemon chicken.
This is different than most pastas that we make at our house because it’s not spicy whatsoever. It is creamy and ever so slightly tart. This recipe is a cheese sauce, so much like any other, it is definitely rich. BUT the lemon and basil help to make this dish fresh and seem light. With the grilled lemon chicken added to the mix you don’t need a ton to be satisfied. A few weeks ago when I made this, Michael gave me a thumbs up and said it was good enough to blog so here it is!
- Boneless, skinless, chicken breasts sliced in half so they are thin
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh preferred (1/2 of one of the lemons below)
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- 1 pound box ziti noodles
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (use 1/4 for a thin sauce, 1/2 for a thick sauce)
- 3 1/2 cups milk (I use 1% but any will do)
- Zest of 2 large lemons
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons) divided
- Combine the olive oil, lemon juice (from 1/2 a lemon), garlic, and pepper in a ziplock bag. Add the chicken breast and marinate for 1 hour.
- Grill the chicken until cooked through.
- Prepare noodles according to package instructions.
- For the sauce: In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Add the lemon zest. Simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, salt and pepper.
- Add noodles to sauce, juice from 1 and 1/2 lemons and fresh basil.
- Serve pasta into bowls and top with grilled chicken.