This is one of those recipes that basically came about on accident. Rob and I were brain storming how to best use some of the stuff we had bought. There were a few things we knew we wanted which was it would have chicken and a cream sauce. We originally started with a creamy pesto pasta, but I wasn’t feeling that. I wanted something a little bit different. That was about when I remembered the package of small tomatoes we had picked up.
We decided to roast them up to really break them down and make them tasty. This then led to the next key ingredient decision which was to use the classic pairing for tomato: basil! I know its not revolutionary, but its not super common in a cream sauce. From there, we used a pretty classic cream sauce formula.
This basically meant some butter, chicken, garlic, white wine, and cream. Its super simple, but creates a really great basic flavor from which to build a good cream sauce. You can also vary it up a little bit with things like precooked Italian chicken sausage, shallot, or a little bit of lemon. The basic concept provides for a lot of flexibility while being very consistent.
Timing this one is pretty straight forward, but can be pretty key to delivering it seamlessly (believe me we have it down to a science). First, get the tomatoes in the oven you want them to have plenty of time to break down. You start the water boiling at about the same time. Then, once that is pretty close to a boil start the chicken, and you start the pasta when you flip the chicken. From there, by the time the pasta is done, the sauce will be ready to go.
Creamy Tomato-Basil Pasta
- 1 Lb Chicken Tenders cut into small pieces or halved
- 1 Lb Penne
- 2 Tbs Butter
- 1 Tbs Olive Oil
- 8 Oz Cherry/Grape Tomatoes
- 3 Basil Leave rough chapped
- 3 Garlic Cloves minced
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
- 3 Oz White Wine split 1 Oz off
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Start the pasta water at the same time.
- Preheat a skillet on the stove top over medium heat.
- Coat the tomatoes in salt/pepper and olive oil.
- Start the tomatoes on the stove top in the skillet to blister them for about 4 minutes, then transfer to the oven.
- Heat the butter in another skillet over medium-high heat.
- Salt/Pepper the chicken and add it to the hot butter. Saute on each side for about 4 minutes. Start the pasta when you flip the chicken pieces.
- Remove the chicken pieces when done and tent with foil.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the garlic, cook for 1 minute.
- Add the 2 Oz of wine and allow to reduce for about 2 minutes.
- While the wine is reducing, remove the tomatoes from the oven, and deglaze the hot skillet with the remaining 1 Oz of wine stirring to remove any caramelized tomato from the skillet.
- Add the cream to the garlic/wine mix then add the tomato and any deglazed pan drippings. Stir to combine.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer while waiting for the pasta to complete.
- Add the chicken, basil, and pasta in at the end and stir to combine.