Slow Cooker Chicken and Artichoke Pasta

Jewish cuisine in Italy has reached its influence to other parts of the world. Jewish cuisine, though, is known for using vegetables in most of its recipes, and artichoke is one of their favorites. In the Ghetto in Italy, there is the famous deep-fried artichoke that is crunchy in the outside, soft and buttery in the inside. It is eaten as a snack while others enjoy it as appetizer.

Our recipe for today, though, has less cholesterol in it. It is slow-cooker chicken and artichoke pasta. It is a complete meal in itself with the carbohydrates from pasta, the protein from chicken and the vitamins and fiber from the artichoke. This is a relatively easy recipe to prepare, too, and you can make a big batch of sauce, vacuum-seal it and store in the refrigerator for months to come. So the next time you crave for some home-cooked favorite, you can easily cook the pasta and just add the prepared sauce. Another variation is to use steamed rice instead of pasta. It is also filling and a good source of carbohydrates.

The Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Pasta of choice (angel hair or penne, recommended);
  • Chicken breasts, de-boned and skin removed, 3 pcs;
  • Canned tomatoes (no salt version), 3 cans, drain the water out of the 2 cans, put in the water in the 1 can;
  • Artichoke hearts, cut into quarters, 3.5 cups;
  • Onion, diced, ½ pc;
  • Garlic, minced, 6 cloves;
  • Italian herbs, dried, 1 tbsp;
  • Salt, 1 tbsp;
  • Lemon juice, 1 pc;
  • Lemon, sliced, 1 pc. (remove seeds)
  • Heavy or whipping cream, 1 cup;
  • Cornstarch, 1 cup (use to thicken sauce, optional);
  • Parmesan, freshly-grated, for optional topping.

Process:

  1. In a slow cooker, mix together the tomatoes, onion, artichokes, lemon juice, garlic, herbs and salt;
  2. Lay the chicken on the sauce, burying it;
  3. Put lemon slices on top of the chicken. It has to touch the chicken, and not the sauce;
  4. Cook on low for 6 hours. If in a rush, cook on high for 3 hours;
  5. Remove the lemon slice and throw away;
  6. Remove the chicken, and using a fork, shred it to smaller pieces, then return to crockpot;
  7. Add the cream to the mixture in the crockpot and stir;
  8. Depending on how thick you want it, you can add cornstarch at this point. It is best to sift it into the crockpot so there would be no clumps. Stir to blend well;
  9. Cook for 10 minutes, while cooking the pasta;
  10. Put pasta on plate, top with the chicken and sauce from the slow-cooker, finish with parmesan on top.

Benefits when using Slow-Cooker:

  1. Cooking using a slow-cooker is healthier because it is low-fat and can be done without using cooking oil;
  2. When cooking soups or stews, you put in all the ingredients and let it cook by itself. It takes less effort;
  3. It uses lesser meat, because what little you put in is maximized in flavor when the slow-cooking draws out the juices;
  4. Since a slow-cooker has a cover, the liquid in your recipe does not evaporate so the soup or the stew remains as it is and does not dry up;
  5. The best way to cook a slow-cooker is to put it in low heat for a longer period of time.

Enjoy this pasta dish with some bread, or if you are eating it with rice, it will go well with your wine.  Cheers!

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