SUN-DRIED TOMATO PASTA WITH CHICKEN AND MOZZARELLA

Ingredients 

  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 4 oz sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken breast tenderloins , sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup half and half (or use 1/2 cup heavy cream + 1/2 cup
    milk)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese , shredded (do not use fresh Mozzarella,
    use pre-shredded Mozzarella)
  • 8 oz penne pasta (for gluten free, use gluten free brown
    rice pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup reserved cooked pasta water or more
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt to taste

  1. In a large skillet, sauté garlic and sun-dried tomatoes
    (drained from oil) in 2 tablespoons of olive oil (reserved from the sun-dried
    tomatoes jar) for 1 minute on medium heat until the garlic is fragrant.  
  2. Remove the sun-dried tomatoes from the skillet, leaving the
    olive oil.   
  3. Add sliced chicken (salted and lightly covered in paprika
    for color) and cook on high heat for 1 minute on each side. Remove from heat. 
  4. Cook pasta according to package instructions.    Reserve some cooked pasta water. Drain the
    pasta. 
  5. Slice sun-dried tomatoes into smaller pieces and add them
    back to the skillet with chicken.  
  6. To make creamy pasta sauce, add half-and-half (see
    substitution for half-and-half in the Recipe Notes section below) and
    Mozzarella cheese to the skillet, and bring to a gentle boil. 
  7. Immediately reduce to simmer and cook, constantly stirring,
    until all cheese melts and creamy sauce forms. 
  8. Add cooked and drained pasta to the skillet with the cream
    sauce, and stir to combine. 
  9. Add 1 tablespoon of basil, and at least 1/4 teaspoon of red
    pepper flakes. Stir to combine. 
  10. If the creamy sauce is too thick: Add about 1/2 cup of
    reserved cooked pasta water to the skillet to thin it out.   Do not add all of pasta water at once – you
    might need less or more of it. 
  11. Season the chicken pasta with salt and more red pepper
    flakes, to taste, if needed. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes for flavors
    to combine. 
  12. Note: Make sure to salt the dish just enough to bring out of
    the flavors of basil and sun-dried tomatoes. 

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