When I go grocery shopping I like to buy ingredients that I haven’t used before. A few years ago, I bought sun dried tomatoes and tried to find ways to use them. Nothing I made was that memorable, so much so that I really can’t remember how I used them (maybe hummus).
Then, sometime later, I bought sun dried tomatoes again and found myself wondering how to use them. Inspiration came when I was perusing the cold salads at the deli counter at a grocery store recently. They had a salad with penne pasta, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, and mayonnaise. That’s when I got the idea for this pasta dish and finally came up with a memorable recipe for sun dried tomatoes.
The first time I bought sun dried tomatoes, I got the ones in a bag. This last time I bought the kind that are jarred in olive oil and I prefer this kind. They have a nice texture and better flavor. Plus, you can use the flavorful oil as well. In this recipe I just took out some tomatoes from the jar and didn’t use the oil, but drizzling the oil to garnish would be really tasty.
If you are making this dish during the week and happen to have extra rotisserie chicken in the refrigerator, you can add that in with the sun dried tomatoes and spinach to make this dish even easier to whip up!
Sun Dried Tomato and Chicken Pasta – Serves 4, Total Time: 30-40 minutes
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 chicken breasts, cut into bit-sized pieces
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, chiffonade
1-2 large handfuls fresh baby spinach
½ cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons cream
8 oz. dried penne pasta
Grated Parmesan cheese (Grana Padano)
Salt & Pepper
Bring six cups of salted water to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the penne and cook for eight minutes. To test for doneness, taste the pasta. You want it to be al dente, which means it will still have a bit of chew, it won’t be completely soft. Reserve about a 1/4 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta.
Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, onions, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until the chicken is cooked through and the onions are softened, about seven minutes.
Add the sun dried tomatoes and spinach to the pan, along with a dash of salt, and stir until the spinach is wilted, about 1 minute. Pour in the chicken broth and stir. Allow the broth to simmer for a couple minutes to reduce and bring the flavors together.
Add the penne to the pan and the reserved pasta liquid. Stir to evenly coat the pasta and simmer for an additional minute. Stir in the cream and some grated Parmesan. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
To serve, garnish with additional Parmesan.