For some reason I am completely obsessed with caprese anything. I have made Open Faced Chicken Caprese Sandwiches, Caprese Meatball Subs, and now this Chicken Caprese Pasta. Seriously I get so excited when I come up with another way to incorporate my little obsession into a dish. But who can blame me? How can you go wrong with tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese? Add in a protein and BAM deliciousness waiting to happen!!
This actually ended up as one of my refrigerator clean out meals. I had the Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce that I made the other day, some chicken breasts, basil that needed to be used (I will be posting how to store fresh herbs soon), a pint of grape tomatoes, and a nice big ball of fresh mozzarella cheese (it is always so hard to walk away from the fresh mozzarella in the store I really need to learn to make my own). In my head I thought this sounded like a perfect dish. Throw in a little whole gain pasta and WALA dinner is done!
Now I made this dish like I was cooking for the whole family again. So if you are cooking for less than six people you might want to cut this in half. It ended up feeding 6 adults and one very happy dog and everyone was nice and full. Although I always like to have some leftovers in the fridge for nights when I feel like being lazy (ssshhh don't tell but it does happen).
I can cheerfully announce that everyone gave this meal 2 thumbs up. My 4 young adult diners gorged themselves and then said they wished there was more. Kevin and I were pleasantly full, and Barney, well he had a big bowlful and would have loved more if we had it!
Chicken Caprese Pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large chicken breast, sliced in half (cut like a book and then seperate into two pieces)
1 box whole grain farfalle pasta
4 cups homemade Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce (you can use a jar of store bought sauce as well)
1 cup fat free evaporated milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pint grape tomatoes, diced into halves
12 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
16 fresh Basil leaves, chiffonade cut (see how to chiffonade here)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Salt both side of the chicken breast slices. Cook the chicken for about 3 to 4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the chicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit. Once they are cool enough to handle, cut into cubes
Cook pasta to according to directions listed on package. While pasta is boiling, in a separate medium saucepan over medium low heat, heat tomato pasta sauce, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until cheese melts.
Drain cooked pasta well, return to pot. Add in grilled chicken, grape tomatoes, half of the mozzarella and half of the basil, then pour warm sauce over mixture. Toss to evenly coat. Pour mixture into a casserole or baking dish. Top with remaining mozzarella cubes and cook pasta uncovered for about 20 - 25 minutes until cheese is golden. Top with remaining basil and Parmesan cheese.
Serves 6 hungry people