One of the biggest changes I have noticed about myself as I get older is what constitutes as a “fun night out” for me. Sure, sometimes it’s exciting to get all dolled up and head out onto the town. But, over the last year or so I have found myself extremely content with a night in as opposed to a big night out. So this past weekend, I had two girlfriends over for wine, dinner, and…yup that’s it. Wine and dinner. It was a fabulous evening, and one that I wanted to elevate with a delicious meal. However, I didn’t want to make anything too time consuming because who wants to be a slave to your kitchen while you have guests over? Besides, that wine isn’t going to drink itself.
I got this recipe from Pinterest (thank God for Pinterest) and found it to be simple, inexpensive, and super quick. It was a team effort, and came together very fast. It really packs a flavor punch and was really good the next day too! To be frank, I usually hate sun dried tomatoes but they add a really nice sweetness to the dish that was unexpected. And who doesn’t heart mozzarella?
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small jar (3-4 oz) sun-dried tomatoes in oil
- 1 lb chicken breast tenders cut into strips
- Paprika (just a little bit)
- 1 cup of half and half
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 8 oz penne pasta
- 1 tablespoon basil
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt, to taste
- Drain the jarred sun-dried tomatoes and reserve 2 tablespoons of the drained oil.
- In a large pan, on high heat, sauté garlic and drained sun-dried tomatoes in 2 tablespoons of oil (from above) for 1 minute until garlic is fragrant.
- Remove sun-dried tomatoes from the pan, leaving the oil, and add chicken, salted and lightly covered in paprika and cook on high heat for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Reserve some cooked pasta water.
- Slice sun-dried tomatoes into smaller bits and add them back to the skillet with chicken. Add half and half and cheese to the skillet, too, and bring to a gentle boil. Immediately reduce to simmer and cook, constantly stirring, until all cheese melts and creamy sauce forms. If the sauce is too thick – don’t worry – you’ll be adding some cooked pasta water soon.
- Add cooked pasta and water to the skillet with the creamy sauce, and stir to combine. Add 1 tablespoon of basil, and 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.
- Add salt to taste.
- Check the chicken to make sure all cooked through and the pasta has absorbed the flavors. Serve and enjoy!
Makes 4 servings.