One of the things I love most about pasta is the variety of vegetables, meats, cheeses and sauces that can be served with it. The combinations are endless, limited only by your imagination and available food items. This also makes pasta a blank canvas for using things up...
This meal was about tomatoes...I had a handful of grape tomatoes, some sundried tomatoes and some Basic Tomato Sauce in the fridge, all needing to be used. The soft goat cheese added a tang and creaminess to the sauce; grilled chicken breast and asparagus rounded out the meal.
Make a marinade for the chicken by combining:
4 tablespoons sundried tomato oil
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
pinch of chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 chicken tenders
Turn to coat all sides and leave for 30 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook your pasta while you make the sauce. Turn the grill on to heat.
In a bit of olive oil, cook until soft:
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
3 cups Basic Tomato Sauce
Simmer, stirring occasionally until ready to serve.
Grill the chicken on the hot grill until fully cooked. No need to oil the grill, the marinade will do that for you!
Remove from the heat, rest for 5 minutes and then slice thinly.
When the chicken is half done, toss the grape tomatoes in olive oil, salt and pepper and add to the grill.
Cook until they start to char and the skin starts to crack. This only takes a few minutes. Remove from the heat.
At the same time as the tomatoes, lightly oil and season the asparagus and put that onto the grill until it is slightly charred and as tender as you like it.
Remove from the heat.
Drain the pasta and add the tomato sauce, stirring to coat the pasta.
To serve, portion the pasta into a shallow bowl, top with the grilled grape tomatoes and sliced grilled chicken. Crumble soft goats cheese on top and serve the asparagus on the side. Buon appetito!
- Roasted grape or cherry tomatoes, chopped canned tomatoes or peeled, seeded and chopped fresh tomatoes can be used for either the grilled grape tomatoes or sundried tomatoes.
- If you don't have, or like, goat cheese you can add about half a cup of whipping cream to the sauce while it is simmering to achieve the creaminess the cheese adds when it melts into the hot tomato sauce.
- The pasta and sauce can be put into an ovenproof dish, covered with grated mozzarella and baked. The chicken can be added before baking, or served on top as I did.
- Any meat can be used; this would be a great way to use leftover roast chicken, beef or meatballs.
- More vegetables such as chopped spinach, mushrooms, zucchini or olives can be added.