Makes 4 servings
Here's the perfect excuse to bring together a group of friends. It's one of my favorite dishes for easy entertaining, and it always received raves. I accompany the pasta with artisan bread and a fresh green salad tossed with balsamic vinaigrette.
8 ounces penne pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch squares
Salt and pepper
1 (14-ounce) can tomatoes with Italian herbs
½ cup roasted red bell pepper in ¼-inch strips
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup arugula leaves, stems removed and discarded
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
¼ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling water according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and a dash of salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes or until the chicken is lightly browned and thoroughly cooked. Stir in the tomatoes, bell pepper, and garlic. When the liquid begins to bubble, reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the arugula and basil. When they are wilted, stir in the cream, vinegar, and red pepper flakes. (Do not let the mixture come to a boil.)
When the penne is done, drain well. Return it to the cooking pan. Add the sauce and stir until evenly combined. Adjust the red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste.
Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.