Thursday, July 12, 2012

Recipe: Pasta and Chicken with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts

A long day working in the basement, organizing ungodly amounts of Christmas ornaments and assorted knickknacks, left me looking for something lovely and light for dinner last night—something that could be enjoyed on the back porch with a glass of wine and a few hungry cats. Enter lemony artichoke hearts, tangy sun-dried tomatoes, and tender chicken, tossed with pasta and a light butter and olive oil sauce. 

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

  • Olive oil, enough to lightly coat the bottom of medium pan
  • 2-3 tbsp. butter
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1-2 inch cubes
  • 1, 7 oz. jar of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil (I used Alessi brand), drained (reserve the oil in the jar or in a small bowl) and diced
  • 1, 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered (cut each into four pieces)
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-3 tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (I used a rainbow peppercorn blend, which packs some great flavor!)
  • 8 oz. spaghetti, angel hair, or linguine (for a different style, use a small/short pasta, like farfalle or penne)
  • Italian cheese, as desired

Season the chicken with salt and pepper (garlic powder is also a good addition). Heat a little regular olive oil, olive oil from the sun-dried tomato jar, and butter in a medium pan over medium-high heat, then add the chicken. Cook until the chicken is a little more than halfway cooked through. Add the artichoke hearts and cook for another 1-2 minutes, then add the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and a little more sun-dried tomato olive oil from the jar. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring the mixture occasionally. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. While the mixture is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the packaging (about 4-5 minutes for long, thin pastas). Drain the pasta, then add a little butter and a splash of sun-dried tomato olive oil to it—toss to combine. Add the chicken, artichoke, and sun-dried tomato mixture to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve topped with Italian seasoning and/or Italian cheese, as desired.

This dish offers light, bright flavors that make it perfect as a summertime dinner. Artichoke hearts have a slightly lemony taste that blends well with the tangy, sweet flavor of the sun-dried tomatoes. A "sauce" of butter and olive oil is all you need to pull the dish together, and a sprinkling of Italian cheese is a perfect way to top it off.

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