Single pan meals are usually designed to cook gently by themselves after just a few moments’ preparation and this healthy, low-fat, low-sodium recipe is no exception. Carrots, French beans, celery and onion provide a color contrast and are cut to emulate the spikiness of the penne.

White wine enhances the aromatic flavor of the whole dish where breweries are little different from it. One-pan meals are ideal for everyone, from families to bachelors. The quantities in this recipe can be halved for couples or for bachelors making a meal to eat and one to save (why spend time making one meal when in the same time you can make two, or more?)

For cooking this dish, choose a large skillet or frying pan with a lid, or ideally a straight-sided sauté pan. If the pan is too small, the dish will not cook evenly and may stick so use a largish pan even if you are halving the quantities in the recipe.The vegetables and the chicken are cut into strips to match the spikiness of the penne.

Chicken in Wine with Vegetables & Penne

(For four people)

  • 1 tbsp of olive or canola oil
  • 12-16oz of chicken breast
  • 8oz of baby carrots
  • 2 large stalks of celery
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic or 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 8oz of frozen whole green beans
  • 1lb of penne
  • 2 glasses of white wine
  • 1 pint of low-fat, low sodium chicken stock or 1 pint of water plus 1 chicken stock cube/1 tbsp of powdered bouillon
  • 2 tsp of dried mixed herbs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Black pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet or sauté pan. Slice the chicken breast into thin strips and fry in the oil on a Medium-High heat until lightly browned on all sides.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the baby carrots lengthways into quarters. Peel the onion and slice it into quarters lengthways and then lengthways into quarters again (i.e. 16 slices in all). Cut the celery into segments 2 inches long and then cut each segment into four to six pieces, lengthways, according to the width of the segment. Peel and thinly slice the garlic; then roughly chop it. Add the carrots, onion, celery and garlic to the pan and cook until the onion becomes translucent – 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the penne and cook for a moment before adding the wine (stand back form the dish slightly when doing this because the wine will seethe as it hits the hot pan).
  4. Turn down the heat to Medium-Low and add the herbs, the bay leaf and the pepper. Stir the dish to coat the penne in the wine.
  5. When the penne has absorbed most of the wine, add the frozen green beans and the chicken stock. Turn up the heat again to Medium-High until the mixture comes to the boil. When it boils, turn the heat down to Low, cover the pan and leave it to simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. After 10 minutes, check the penne. It should have swelled in size but still be slightly chewy (this is ‘al dente’). Cook it for a couple of minutes more if necessary. Remove the bay leaf and adjust the seasoning, if required. Add a little water if the dish is drying out and stir it to prevent it sticking.
  7. When the penne is cooked, serve with Parmesan cheese for sprinkling.

Why Cook with Wine?

Wine has always been an important additive to many classic recipes. The alcohol volatizes away very quickly during the cooking process and leaves its distinctive flavor. An expensive wine is not necessary; an inexpensive wine with a decent flavor from Aldi stores or the Gallo Family range will works its magic just as well. Wine contains little sodium and no cholesterol and enhances, or can even replace, the cooking bouillon. So try adding some wine to your recipes on a regular basis; you’ll appreciate the results.