I always love to end the weekend with a nice big dinner before the weekday rush and quick dinners begin again. This is one of my favorite pasta dishes over the summer when the basil and tomatoes are plentiful, however you can still make it during the off season. Some followers may already know of my love for all things bruschetta.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 can 8oz tomato sauce
1 can 14.5oz fire roasted tomatoes
2 1/2 cups dried pasta of choice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pasta water
5-10 fresh basil leaves
Balsamic vinegar glaze
In a large deep skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Sprinkle your chicken breast with salt and pepper and dice into small bite size pieces. Once the oil is warm, add your onion, garlic, chicken and all dry spices (red pepper, basil, oregano and garlic powder) to the skillet. Stir everything to combine and cook for 5 minutes. Once your chicken is mostly cooked through add your tomato sauce and 1 cup of fire roasted tomatoes. Bring your sauce to boil, then turn the heat down to low, simmer and cover. Let the sauce reduce, covered for 20 minutes. During that time, cook your pasta in salted water until al dente. Once pasta is done save 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid from the pasta, also known as pasta water. When your sauce is done, add the pasta water to it, this will help to thin it out just a bit. Next stir in your pasta and parmesan. Top each plate with lots of fresh chopped basil and balsamic glaze.
Makes 6 plates
This pasta dinner is adult and kid approved in my house. Making the sauce from scratch does take a little time, however store bought balsamic vinegar glaze makes for a handy short cut. Also the glaze is sweet so it cuts the acid in the tomato sauce really nicely. My tip for this one is a goody. Pasta water is a wonderful non-ingredient, ingredient. After you cook your pasta you’re left with what’s a pretty murky looking pot of water. However that murky water is liquid gold for pasta sauces. The pasta water is filled with salt and starch from cooking your pasta and when added to sauces it gives it a nice velvety smooth finish. This whole process is also know as emulsification. Food really is science!