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In keeping of the spirit of my resolutions, I have some items leftover from the holidays that I need to use. It’s bitter cold outside this weekend and I was in the mood for a big bowl of creamy chicken pasta.
I have vowed to use up all of the pantry items, as well as the freeze staples before I buy more. So far I have only bought a few lunch items for my son’s school lunches and some fresh fruit.
Going through the pantry I noticed that I didn’t have a jar of pasta sauce. But I did have cans of San Marzano Tomatoes in there. These tomatoes are one of my favorite Costco finds.
Simple and Quick Pasta Sauce
Start by placing a dutch oven or large pot on the stove over medium heat. Add in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Dice up 1/2 of an onion and 1/2 cup of baby carrots and get them into the pot to soften.
Add the minced garlic, give it all a big stir. Give the garlic a couple of minutes to cook, but be sure not to burn it. Dump in the San Marzano tomatoes, This will keep the garlic from burning.
Put in 2 teaspoons of dried Mediterranean oregano and a couple of bay leaves. The bay leaves will help it with that cooked all day taste. Place the lid on reduce it to simmer and let it go for at least an hour.
After it has simmered for an hour, remove the bay leaves. I used an immersion blender to blend it all up. If you don’t have an immersion blender you can use a regular blender, but be super carful when blending hot sauces in a blender.
Taste the sauce and add Salt and pepper to your taste. I added 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
Let’s get our Pasta on
I used Casarecce pasta, but rigatoni would work great. Again this was the pasta I had on hand. This actually held the sauce well. I found this one at Costco, it comes with 2 each of 3 different Organic Italian Pastas.
Put 4 quarts of water into a large pot add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a 3 tablespoons of sea salt. Bring to a Iboil. Add the pasta. This package was 17.6 ounces. Bring it back to a boil and cook it 2 minutes less than the package directions.
Drain and set aside. Do not rinse the pasta. Rinsing removes the starch that helps the sauce adhere to the pasta.
Bring Home the Flavor with the Chicken
I had a large chicken breast, I sliced it in half to get two pieces the same size. If you have a couple of small breast you could pound them a little so that they are roughly the same size.
Add 1/4 of a cup of all purpose flour to a small dish. Liberally salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breast and dredge in the flour. Shake off the excess flour and set the chicken aside.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter. Once the butter has melted add in the chicken breasts. Add in a couple of lemon wedges to the pan. Cook the chicken 2 to 3 minutes per side, until brown.
Add a splash of white wine and 1/4 cup of chicken stock. Throw in a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme and let simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool slightly.
Putting it all Together
I found that I didn’t have any heavy cream in the fridge, but I did have a couple of blocks of cream cheese left over from the holidays. Add in one 8 ounce block of cream cheese let it melt into the sauce, give it a good stir to combine.
Take the drained pasta and add it right into the sauce and stir to combine and let the pasta warm back up while you chop up the chicken.
Chop up the cooked chicken and add it in with the sauce and pasta give it a good stir to mix everything together. Add in 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese.
It seems like a lot of ingredients but Im on a mission to clean out the fridge and pantry. It was very simple to prepare and turned out very tasty. If you decide to make it let me know how you liked it.