Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Recipe: Chicken and Penne Pasta with Wilted Spinach and Grape Tomatoes

To be honest, there's really not much of a story behind tonight's meal. Haha. I wanted to make something quick and easy, and I was craving that delicious pop of a hot grape tomato, so I paired chicken and pasta with fresh grape tomatoes and baby spinach to create a simple, summery dish.

Serves: 4
Prep. time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy


  • 8 oz. penne pasta, or other small pasta (farfalle, medium shells, rigatoni, etc.)
  • Olive oil (enough to lightly coat the bottom of a large pan)
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced into 2 inch long pieces
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1-2 cups grape/cherry tomatoes
  • 4-6 oz. baby spinach (remove any big stems from leaves)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5-6 basil leaves, chiffonade cut
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (at least 1 tsp.)
  • Italian seasoning, to taste
  • Italian cheese, as desired

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil, then add pasta and cook according to package instructions (about 11-15 minutes). In the meantime, heat a little olive oil and 2 tbsp. butter in a large pan over medium heat. Season the chicken with a little salt and pepper, then add it to the pan. Cook until no longer pink on the outside, then add the onion and continue to cook until the onion pieces soften slightly. Add the remaining butter along with the white wine, tomatoes, spinach, and garlic and cook over medium heat. Add salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning as the mixture cooks. When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pot with a splash of olive oil and a little butter. Add the chicken mixture to it, along with the fresh basil, and toss to combine. Serve with grated Italian cheese and additional crushed red pepper flakes, as desired.

Simple, fresh, flavorful. What more can I say? The hot grape tomatoes pop when you bite into them, and their juices blend perfectly into the garlicky, buttery flavors in the dish. Wilted spinach adds color and flavor and tender chicken and pasta are always the perfect combination.

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