garlic chicken with creamy tomato pasta

When I was a mere undergraduate student, I was extremely fortunate to live in three identical student-housing apartments, all of which had big, new kitchens.  Except for the lack of a dishwasher, they really were perfect and a budding cook’s dream.  Too bad I had absolutely zero interest in cooking, baking, or doing anything other than nuking (i.e. microwaving) in that expansive kitchen.

Well, that’s not exactly true.  Sometime during my junior year, I realized that pasta with marinara was okay, but pasta with marinara that had been mixed with a healthy (er, not healthy) portion of butter was awesome and a perfect meal for 1 am study sessions.  Happily, my cooking repertoire has expanded drastically since graduating from college, but I still really do enjoy the taste of a creamy tomato-based sauces.

So, you can imagine my joy when I found a recipe for Garlic Chicken with Creamy Tomato Pasta in Paula Deen’s magazine this past month.  Boasting three (!) cloves of  garlic, a giant can of crushed tomatoes, and heavy whipping cream, along with chicken, spinach, and a bunch of Italian herbs, this dish is filling, well-seasoned, and satisfying.

Also, a quick tutorial for anyone who’s interested: How to easily dissect a pepper in two steps.

Step 1. Cut around the stem of the pepper, near the edge of the top of the pepper (similar to cutting into a pumpkin before carving).

Step 2. Pull the pepper “guts” out by the stem.  VOILA!  At this point, you can use your fingers to pull out any leftover pepper ribs (the white-ish bits on the inside walls of the pepper).

Garlic Chicken with Creamy Tomato Pasta

From Cooking with Paul Deen magazine, Volume 6, Issue 2

Makes 4 servings

3 cups uncooked rotini pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

1 shallot, sliced

1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon Italian herb blend seasoning

2 cups packed fresh baby spinach

Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain well, set aside and keep warm.

In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add chicken, shallot, bell pepper, and garlic; saute for 7 minutes or until chicken is done.  Add tomatoes, cream, and herb blend; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and stir in pasta and spinach.  Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

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