Tuesday, July 28, 2015

How To Spice Up Your Weeknight Pasta {With Chicken}

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I love a good pasta dish and the sauce in this one is amazing. Don't get me wrong, I love the classics like homemade marinara, alfredo, etc., but this tomato cream sauce is so delicious! I love the concentrated tomato flavor that's mellowed out just a little with the creaminess.

The seasoning on the chicken is perfect too, packs a little bit of a heat kick that really balances out the creamy sauce. I had never thought to use a steak seasoning on anything but steak, but adding it to the chicken is going to be a go-to technique in my pantry for the foreseeable future! If you don't want to buy a separate seasoning blend for this recipe you can easily mix up your own. I would suggest including salt, pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, a pinch of cayenne and ground sesame seeds.

Simple dishes like this are some of my favorite weeknight fare. Comforting and easy to put together, but still really flavorful and delicious.

Creamy Tomato Pasta With Seared Chicken

Ingredients
1 lb boneless, skinless, thin-sliced chicken breasts
Montreal Steak seasoning (McCormick brand was readily available in my grocery store)
1 pound penne pasta
2 tablespoons butter (use 4 tbsp. if not grilling chicken)
2 tablespoons olive oil (use 4 tbsp. if not grilling chicken)
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup chicken broth
12 oz canned tomato sauce
1 cup half and half (or light cream)
Kosher salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
1 tbsp. dried parsley
8-10 fresh basil leaves (chopped)

Instructions
Season both sides of the chicken breasts with the steak seasoning. If you have a grill, go ahead and cook these on the grill or grill-pan. I went with a cast iron pan, melted 2 tbsp. butter and 2 tbsp. olive oil in the pan over medium heat. Then I added the chicken and cooked for 4 minutes on each side (working in batches). Set the chicken aside to rest while you cook the pasta and sauce.

Cook your pasta in well-salted water according to the package directions (8-10 minutes). While the pasta cooks you can make the sauce. I just used the same skillet I cooked the chicken in and heated Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in the skillet over medium. Once melted, add in the garlic and cook for just 30 seconds or so. Pour in the chicken broth and let it simmer and reduce by about half. 

Once the broth has reduced, stir in the tomato sauce. If you use no-salt added sauce, make sure to season well with salt and pepper at this stage. Then add in the dried parsley. Stir to combine and add the cream. Taste and add additional seasoning if you need to before turning off the heat. Add the fresh basil into the sauce, then add the cooked pasta to the sauce, stirring well to coat all the noodles with the sauce.

Serve the pasta in individual bowls with sliced chicken on top (this recipe makes great leftovers too!).

Recipe adapted from Kevin & Amanda and The Pioneer Woman


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