I was perusing Pinterest for a recipe to try, as I have been checking out Pinterest lately for recipes. There is such a variety of culinary adventures to undertake. I do feel guilty ignoring my collection of New Orleans cookbooks, however.
My husband and I don’t normally eat a lot of chicken, though we probably should opt for it rather than red meat or pork. When I saw the recipe for chicken with mozzarella and pasta, I thought that sounded like a tasty combination. Plus, cheese compliments so many dishes, in my opinion.
I want to thank the blog Julia’s Album for this delicious recipe.
Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
I didn’t take a picture. This photo is credited to Julia and her blog, Julia’s Album.
Side note: I did make a couple of adjustments.
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small jar (3-4 oz) of sun dried tomatoes in oil (I used a bag of dried sun dried tomatoes)…Note: drain if using sun dried tomatoes in oil, and set aside oil for sauteeing
- 1 pound chicken breast tenders (The recipe implies keeping them whole, but I think I would chop them next time)
- Salt and pepper (for seasoning chicken)
- Paprika (for seasoning chicken)
- 1 cup half and half (I used heavy whipping cream)
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese (I recommend shredding your own, because it tends to melt better than pre-shredded)
- 8 ounces penne pasta (I think this recipe would go with cavatappi or rotini as well so all that creamy goodness can work its way through the pasta)
- 1 tablespoon basil (if dry), or more if fresh
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup reserved cooked pasta water
- Salt, to taste
- Note: If using sun-dried tomatoes in oil, use the drained oil to sauté the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes for 1 minute until fragrant….If you did not use sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, just use regular olive oil to sauté.
- Remove sun-dried tomatoes from pan and set aside. Don’t be like me and turn away for a moment. I burned some of mine and had to toss some out. Those little things brown quickly, and you don’t want them brown. Lol!
- Season the chicken tenders with salt, pepper, and paprika. Add chicken tenders to the pan (or cut them into chunks and add). Cook on high for 1 minute on each side.
- Cook pasta according to package directions and save some pasta water. Drain and rinse and set aside.
- Slice the sun-dried tomatoes and add them back to the skillet. I sliced them prior to initially sautéeing them, because slicing them after would have been more difficult with the oil on them.
- Add the half and half or whipping cream (whatever your preference), as well as the mozzarella cheese, to the skillet and bring to a gentle boil. Once the cream starts boiling, reduce to simmer and cook. Stir consistently to make sure the cheese completely melts. The recipe recommends adding some of the reserved pasta water to the sauce to keep the sauce from getting too thick. I did not do this.
- Add the basil and red pepper flakes. (I also added some grated parmesan cheese)
- Add salt to taste.
- Finally, add the pasta into the sauce and fold everything together.
Note: After burning half of my sun-dried tomatoes, I was glad that I had some chopped baby bella mushrooms on hand to add in. I think that this can also be done with fresh spinach as well.
Final word: The recipe was great but after initially cooking the chicken I would take it out to make the sauce and then add the chicken back in again. I found it difficult to stir the sauce while the chicken was in the pan.