This lovely recipe has been summer staple in our family since the kids were little and is best when the grapes are sweet and juicy and the salad veggies are at their peak!
Chicken Pasta with Grapes
1 box of medium sized pasta shells (Barilla’s is our fav)
1 pound (453 g) organic skinless, boneless chicken thighs (or breasts if you prefer)
1 pound (453 g) red seedless grapes, in season
1 English cucumber, medium dice
3 celery stalks (the sweeter ones in the center)
3-4 scallions, diced
Sharp or medium cheddar, small dice
3/4 (170 g) cup of your favorite mayonnaise (we love Best Foods, called Hellmanns on the east coast)
1 T Kosher salt (for salad)
1/2 T fresh ground pepper
1 ripe avocado
Cilantro leaves (as garnish)
2 T Kosher salt (for pasta water)
1 T celery seeds (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 T of Kosher salt to the water. Boil the pasta according to direction (not al dente; you want it fully cooked). When it’s done, drain and run cold water over the noodles until cool. Let drain until completely dry. (I use paper towels to aid in this step).
Lay the chicken pieces out on a roasting tray, lightly season with salt and pepper and a light drizzle of olive oil. Roast at 375 F for 30-35 minutes (the longer time if they are big thighs). When done, remove from oven, drain excess juices from the pan and let cool for 10 minutes or so. Give them a medium dice, making sure to trim away any excess fat.
Dice all the vegetables and cheese into a similar size dice. Rinse the grapes and dry well. If they are really big, cut them in half.
When all the ingredients are chopped and the chicken and pasta cooled, toss everything together and add the mayonnaise. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired. Garnish with cilantro and add fresh avocado pieces right before serving.
Recipe by Isabel Gates