Not what any self-respecting Italian could dream up! Chicken mixed with a tomato sauce, NOoooo. I made this the first time cooking for my Italian wife. The disapproving looks comments I received that night are burned into my memory. Still I persist and when I want a tasty, high energy and fulling dinner for a happy family feed, this always pops into my head.
The sauce is is great for batch making in advance. Even without batch preparation the recipe only requires 15-20 minutes to make.
This is a high energy meal for the days when you need good energy from a solid bout of exercise.
8 ounces (220g) pasta, like spaghetti, linguine or tagliatelle
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can of tomatoes (or 5-6 real tomatoes peeled, whizzed and a longer reduction time)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 handful fresh basil, cut into ribbons
Sea salt and ground pepper
¼ cup Butter OR ½ cup soft cream cheese
Optional: ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes OR 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well when done.
2. Optional: Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and pound each piece to an even thickness, about one inch or so in the thickest parts (this just helps it cook faster and more evenly). Sprinkle each piece of chicken with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
3. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook, flipping once, until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes on each side. Set aside and keep warm.
4. In the same frying pan (cooled slightly) add tomatoes, garlic and lemon/chilli (if using). Return to heat. Simmer and stir occasionally to reduce into a chunky sauce.
5. Add butter or cream cheese and stir to combine. Add the chicken back in to soak in the sauce for a few minutes.
6. Just before serving, stir in basil. Serve of pasta topped with chicken and sauce.