Recipe: Summer Penne Pasta Alfredo with Grilled Chicken, Walnuts, and Grapes
You know you’ve had a good vacation when:
- The number of times you ate fried clams exceeded the number of times you wore shoes or underwear.
- Getting another wine spritzer felt like a valid workout.
- You temporarily forgot your email password.
Such was the last week in sweet Ipswich, my own little paradise escape where good friends come for delicious grub, lots of love, and big laughs.
The week kicked off getting ready for a big festive garden party my mom was throwing. We wanted glamorous food that could be totally prepared ahead and would fill people up without being too heavy.
This Summer Penne Pasta Alfredo with Grilled Chicken, Walnuts, and Grapes is absolutely spectacular and couldn’t be easier. Prepared the night before you simply need to let it come to room temperature to have a beautiful salad that will dazzle a crowd.
Served in individual Chinese takeout boxes with bamboo forks this was assembled the evening before and then trays brought out as people quickly gobbled it up. A guaranteed crowd pleaser.
Summer Penne Pasta Alfredo with Grilled Chicken, Walnuts, and Grapes
This recipe is very forgiving and doubles or triples beautifully so have fun experimenting with whatever appeals and is in your fridge or freezer. If the gorgonzola isn’t your style, skip it and instead consider sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts perhaps.
- 1 lb pasta, cooked al dente, 1/2 cup cooking water reserved
- 1/2 lb chicken breasts, grilled or poached and cubed
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 2-3 cups grapes, washed and halved
- 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 – 1/2 lb gorgonzola cheese, to taste (could also substitute a stinkier cheese if you want or go the other direction with a basic goat cheese or gruyere)
- Heat a medium size sauce pan over medium heat.
- Add the heavy cream and let it reduce by half.
- Turn heat to low and add the gorgonzola, stirring until fully incorporated.
- Add the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Toss the warm cream sauce with the warm pasta until fully coated (if you want something lighter you can toss a bit of the cooking water in as well).
- Mix in the chicken, walnuts, and grapes and season to taste with salt and pepper once more.
- Serve immediately or if making ahead be sure to allow ample time for it to fully come to room temperature. At least an hour or so.