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LifestyleColumnistsMarge Perry

3 Simple recipes for spring sauces

Grilled boneless chicken breasts are topped with a

Grilled boneless chicken breasts are topped with a classic Italian salsa verde made in a blender with with parsley basil, anchovy, nuts and capers. Photo Credit: Marge Perry

GRILLED CHICKEN WITH SALSA VERDE

1⁄2 cup fresh parsley leaves

1⁄3 cup fresh basil leaves

1 oil-packed anchovy fillet, drained

1 small clove garlic

2 tablespoons walnuts

2 teaspoons drained capers

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1⁄4 cup olive oil

4 (5-ounce) boneless chicken breast cutlets

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Combine the parsley, basil, anchovy fillet, garlic, walnuts, capers, vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil in a blender; puree. Transfer to a bowl and reserve.

2. Pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness and season with the salt and pepper. Brush a grill or grill pan lightly with oil and heat to medium high. Add the chicken and cook until it readily releases from the surface and is well-marked, about 6 minutes. Turn and grill until cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees, about another 5 to 6 minutes. Serve topped with the salsa verde. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 331 calories, 36 g protein, 1 g carbohydrate, 0 fiber, 20 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 446 mg sodium

LINGUINE WITH CILANTRO-CASHEW PESTO

8 ounces linguine

4 ounces trimmed green beans

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen corn

1 cup cilantro

3 tablespoons olive oil

1⁄4 cup roasted, salted cashews, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon lime juice

1⁄2 teaspoon lime zest

1 small clove garlic

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1. Cook the pasta in plenty of lightly salted boiling water according to package directions. Five minutes before it is cooked to al dente, add the green beans. In 1 minute, add the peas and corn. Reserve 1⁄4 cup of the pasta water and drain when the vegetables are bright green and the pasta al dente (usually about 9 minutes total).

2. Meanwhile, combine the cilantro, olive oil, cashews, lime juice and zest, garlic and salt in a blender and puree until smooth. Toss with the pasta and vegetables. Add reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed to thin the sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 420 calories, 13 g protein, 61 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 15 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 381 mg sodium

PENNE WITH BACON, ASPARAGUS AND SPINACH PESTO

8 ounces penne

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut in 1-inch lengths

1 cup grape cherry tomatoes

4 slices center-cut bacon

3 cups baby spinach

1⁄2 cup fresh basil

1⁄4 cup walnuts

1 clove garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan (plus additional for serving, if desired)

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Five minutes before draining, add the asparagus to the pot. Just before draining, reserve 1⁄4 cup of the cooking water and add the tomatoes to the pot; drain in colander.

2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon, transfer to a plate lined with paper towel and drain. Crumble when cool.

3. Combine the spinach, basil, walnuts, garlic, olive oil and salt in a blender and puree. Stir in the Parmesan. Toss with the pasta; add the reserved cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed to thin the sauce. When sauce achieves the desired consistency, stir in the bacon and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 434 calories, 15 g protein, 50 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 19 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 551 mg sodium

TIP: All these sauces may be made a day or two in advance; and all may be served on pasta, meat, poultry and fish.

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