Monday, February 7, 2011

Cherry Tomato Chicken Pasta with Basil

With rotini.

As cooks, we sometimes wake up with something special on our minds.
Something that just keeps going round and round and, until we make that dish, we just can't do anything.
No one should get in our way then.  No how.
Then we go to the grocery store.
Are way-laid by a point of entrance display of, say, raspberries.  Or avocados.  Or, in this case,
CHERRY TOMATOES.
I had every intention of making a Splendid Table newsletter dish called something like "Sicilian Chicken."
Until I saw cherry tomatoes

10 PINTS FOR $10



And my world went spinning until I could figure out and make  (a large detour from Sicilian Chicken)

Cherry Tomato Chicken Pasta with Basil
  Serves 4 or 2 very hungry people.  Can divide in half to cook only 2 portions
Here with linguine.
  • 3 pints cherry tomatoes*  (Can use 6-8 Roma tomatoes, chopped, too)
  • 2T plus 2t olive oil
  • 1/2 t kosher salt, plus a little extra for chicken
  • 1/4 t fresh ground pepper, ditto
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms* (optional)
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper*
  • 1/4 c white wine or chicken broth
  • 1/4 c kalamata olives, chopped* (optional)
  • 1t fresh rosemary, chopped very finely*
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts*
  • 3/4 # whole wheat linguine or other pasta
  • 10-12 fresh basil leaves (or 1-2T dried)*
  • 4T gruyere or Parmesan cheese, grated, optional*
*To purchase if not in pantry.

    1. Put a 10qt pot of salted and peppered water (2/3 full) for linguine to boil.  Add a few leaves of fresh basil if you have them.  Lower heat a little and leave water ready for pasta as you make the sauce
    2. In a deep, 12 or 14" saute pan (skillet/fry pan) or a good-sized (3qt+)saucepan,  heat 2T olive oil over heat and add tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Cook 10 minutes until tomatoes begin to pop, stirring often.  Add garlic, onion, mushrooms, dried red pepper, wine, olives and rosemary.   Continue to cook for another 10 minutes as tomatoes begin to fall apart.  Stir regularly.
    3. Heat another saute or grill pan and add 2t olive oil. (See Solo Cook's Note below.)  Salt and pepper chicken breasts and grill very briefly, about 1 minute on each side.  Lower heat under tomato sauce and add the chicken to the  sauce.  Cover and cook at a low simmer for about 12 minutes.
    4. Bring pasta water back to a rolling boil and add linguine.   Let covered chicken in sauce sit 10  minutes.   Test pasta for doneness (there should be a little resistance to your teeth)  and pour out into colander in sink.
    5.  Divide the pasta into four pasta bowls and top each with a piece of chicken and a good serving of the tomato sauce.
    6. Garnish with torn fresh basil leaves, if using, and a dusting of fresh ground pepper.  Sprinkle with cheese, if desired.
    Options:  Add some finely chopped zucchini to the tomatoes.








    Solo Cook's Notes:  If you don't have the required pans, cook the chicken first and set aside, covered, to keep warm until the sauce is done in the large saute (skillet).  Then add the chicken.

    Wine:  We liked a not-so-rough chianti with this dish.  Don't buy the bottom of the barrel, literally.  Go up one notch to a chianti classico for a tish more smoothness in your mouth and in your stomach.

    Note:  additional photos added 11/7/12

    Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,
    Alyce
    Note:  Originally posted at http://www.moretimeatthetable.blogspot.com on May 2, 2010

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