Vanessa’s Penne Wonderful

Who needs Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill when you have a kitchen? Don’t spend the time and money going out to an expensive Italian restaurant, instead stay home for more flavor, and easily half of the cost! Mmm… Whole grain penne pasta, sundried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, chicken, garlic, pesto, olive oil, and freshly grated pecorino romano cheese…yummy, and pretty healthy!

Penne with Sundried Tomatoes and Chicken

Ingredients
2 Large Chicken Breasts (if you have frozen thaw them out first or start your cooking 20 minutes before you start cooking the rest of your pasta)
1 box of Penne Pasta (I use whole wheat for added fiber, you can use enriched, or whatever you like)
1 Cup of Sundried Tomatoes (packed in Olive Oil)
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Roma Tomatoes, diced
2 Tbs of Pesto (standard basil pesto, if you don’t have pesto, use fresh basil)
1 Cup of Olive Oil (give or take)
2 Cups of Freshly grated Pecorino Ramano Cheese
salt and pepper

1. Fill a large stock pot 3/4 of the way full of hot water for your pasta. Place over high heat and cover, while it is heating to a boil begin the next steps:
2. In a skillet coat the bottom of the saute pan with approx. 2 Tbs. of Olive Oil -enough to lightly coat the bottom. Heat the skillet to medium-high heat. Lightly salt and pepper both sides of your thawed or fresh Chicken Breasts and place on the preheated skillet.  Sear both sides for approximately  2 minutes. Reduce heat to Medium-low, cover, and let finish cooking for the remainder of your meal prep, flip once again in 5 or so minutes.
3. Grate 1 cup of cheese and set aside.
4. Dice your Roma tomatoes and set aside.
5. Once your water is boiling, liberally salt the water, with a few Tbs of Salt and drop your pasta, stir once and let cook for approx 5 minutes or just under cooked. While the pasta is cooking follow the next step:
6. In a separate large skillet on medium heat, add about 4 Tbs. of Olive oil, your minced garlic, sundried tomatoes, and pesto (or fresh basil). Stir together, and let simmer for a few minutes to cook the flavors together. Reduce heat to low.
7. Remove your chicken once it is cooked from the heat and let it sit a couple of minutes on a plate or cutting board.
8. Once your pasta is nearly cooked (meaning it is still a bit chewy), strain the pasta, but do not rinse. Add your pasta to the large skillet of olive oil and sundried tomato sauce. Turn up the heat to high. Stir thoroughly, continue to add enough olive oil to coat your pasta to your liking. Add your diced tomatoes and grated cheese at this time, mixing all of the ingredients thoroughly, add salt and pepper to taste. Leave the pasta over the heat until your pasta is cooked to your liking.
9. Serve pasta in bowls. Cut chicken into strips and place on top of your pasta, and top each serving with a little more freshly grated cheese.
Makes: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes

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