Friday, August 6, 2010

Penne with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Chicken

I had the best pasta at La Bocca in Whistler, and it reminded me of this recipe I used to make from "In the Kitchen With Rosie" (Oprah's former personal chef).  I'm happy to remember an old favourite:

1/4 c sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 c boiling water
6 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/4 c white grape juice
1 T Italian seasoning
3 T chopped shallot
1 1/4 cups chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup fresh peas or frozen peas, thawed
8 ounces dried penne
olive oil
1 T butter
5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 T flour
12 ounces evaporated skim milk
1/8 t ground nutmeg
1/8 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 c chopped fresh basil
5 medium black olives, thinly sliced
fresh parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put the sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl, add the boiling water, and set the bowl aside for the tomatoes to reconstitute.

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil while proceeding with the recipe.

Combine the chicken and grape juice in a shallow baking dish.  Sprinkle the Italian seasoning on top.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the meat is no longer pink and the juices run clear.  Remove and shred the chicken, reserving the cooking juices.

Drain the sun-dried tomatoes and slice them thinly.

Saute the shallots, mushrooms in olive oil.  Add the reserved cooking juices from the chicken as well as the peas and sliced sun-dried tomatoes.  Simmer until the liquid has been absorbed and the vegetables are wilted.  Remove the pan from the heat and cover it to keep the vegetables warm.

Add the penne to the water in the large pot, which by now should be at full boil.  Cook 8 to 12 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce.  Melt butter in small, heavy saucepan.  Toss in the garlic and flour, then whisk in the evaporated milk.  Add the nutmeg and red pepper flakes.  Whisking continually simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in the basil.

Drain the cooked pasta and transfer to a serving bowl.  Add the chicken, vegetables, and sauce.  Toss and garnish with sliced olives and fresh parmesan cheese.

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