I found some gorgeous pasta at Whole Foods. I’m usually the gal who buys whatever is on sale in the pasta aisle. I, like many of you, have a child who would prefer to live on buttered spaghetti noodles and nothing more. So I always have several packages of spaghetti noodles in my pantry for back up. But, I got carried away by this lovely curly pasta and decided to cook a meal around it. I turned to Cooks Country for inspiration on this one.
Don’t you love it when you find a recipe in a magazine and it tastes as good as the photo looks? I also like it when it is billed as a “30 minute meal” and it actually is. Although, I have to tell you, nothing takes only 30 minutes when you are photographing every little step. Cooks Country magazine is rather well aligned with my outlook on life. I give it my full seal of approval. If you are a health-nut, this is not necessarily the direction in which you will want to go. But they are great for down home fare and quick dinner ideas. Anyway, back to the pasta. Cooks Country presented a Chicken Pomodoro in March of this year. They used penne pasta, and also suggested rice or polenta, which I will also have to try.
The recipe calls for 1½ pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Since the chicken is a star in this recipe and is pan-sauteed, I went ahead and bought good, natural chicken at Kuby’s. I have more margin for error when I start with really good chicken. If I am going to be brining or marinating chicken I will use regular grocery store chicken sometimes. But when it has to stand on its own, I run over to Kuby’s. I used skin-on because I think it turns out juicier that way, and then I take the skin off before chopping it into bite size pieces. I also think chicken tenders could be great for this, as well.
It calls for fresh basil, which I grudgingly purchased. I then went out and bought a basil plant at the plant store for the same price as the puny little box of the allegedly fresh basil I purchased at the grocery store. That will be the last store bought basil I buy this summer, I hope.
|Chicken Pomodoro, fast and delicious|| |
- 4 boneless chicken breasts, skin optional (AKA 2 whole breasts or 1½ pounds)
- olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes (or a little more if your sauce is not thick enough)
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil
- 1 pound dried pasta of your choice
- Pat the chicken with a paper towel to dry it, and then season it with salt and pepper. Heat a little olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook chicken 3 minutes per side and remove it to a plate tented with foil. You will cook it even more in the sauce later so it shouldn’t be totally cooked through yet.
- Add a little more olive oil to the skillet and add the onions. Cook the onions for about 5 minutes until softened, and then add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and oregano. Cook for an additional 30 seconds until the garlic is fragrant.
- Stir in the tomatoes, cream and ¼ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the skillet and add any accumulated juices into the skillet. If you think you need more liquid at this point (I did), you can add another half a can of tomatoes or some tomato sauce and a little more cream. This is the sauce to go with the chicken and pasta, so if you think you are going to need more sauce, this is the time to make the addition. As it simmers it will thicken a bit. Simmer until the chicken is fully cooked, about 8 to 10 more minutes. About halfway through the simmering of the chicken sauce, begin cooking the pasta in salted boiling water.
- Transfer the chicken to a plate to rest. Tent it with foil. Simmer the sauce a bit more to thicken the sauce further, about 5 additional minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the basil. Slice the chicken into bite size pieces. Pour the sauce over the pasta and place the chicken on the sauce.
Have you seen “cook until fragrant” before? It literally means that you stand there by your skillet and keep stirring until you smell the lovely scent of garlic wafting up at you and then you are done…move on…it takes about 30 seconds.
Many types of pasta are suitable for any particular pasta dish. Some disagree with this assertion, however, I substitute pasta like crazy. The benefit is that merely changing the shape of pasta makes your diners feel like they are having something “different” even though the pastas are generally made out of the same ingredients. And it keeps me entertained. I love all of the shapes and lengths and boxes and bags. I know that some sauces require a certain pasta to hold the sauce. The pasta has to stand up to the other ingredients (which is why I rarely cook with angel hair pasta) but I have fun in the pasta aisle and in my kitchen.
This is one of the loveliest noodles I’ve ever seen. I wanted to sit around and take photos of pasta all day.
I’m wondering how long I will make it before I make this easy winner again. Not long, I suppose. Kudos to the folks at Cooks Country. I think this is an easy quick pasta dish that we will be having a lot at our house.