Saturday, August 24, 2013

Caprese Pasta

I made this for my sister when I was helping her after the birth of her last baby.  It was absolutely delicious. New favorite pasta. Ever. The flavors are so amazing and cheesy and mmmm- goodness!  Her husband even decreed it the best pasta ever.  The best part of this dish is how quickly it comes together.  If you start with cooked chicken, it's in and out of the oven within 45 minutes!  Even including the grill time for the chicken, it's ready in under an hour.  Seriously, make this pasta today.  It's delicious!

Recipe Source: Slightly adapted from Cooking Classy via How Sweet It Is
Feeds: 4-8 (Depending on how much pasta you use)
2 medium chicken breasts (1-1.5 lbs.), grilled and diced (I sprinkle them liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder before I grill them)
1 box Rigatoni or Penne Pasta (The original recipe calls for only half a box of pasta, but I have a big family to feed, so I always use the whole box and just up all the other ingredients a bit)
2 cans fire roasted tomatoes, pureed a bit (I just use my immersion blender on them for a few seconds)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
Red Pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
12 oz. fresh Mozzarella, cubed, sliced or grated (fresh is key, here)
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped chiffonade style
1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions.
2.  While pasta is boiling, in a separate pan over low heat, heat tomatoes, heavy cream, Romano/Parmesan cheese, garlic.  Add red pepper and salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to cook over low to medium heat until all the cheese has melted.
3.  Drain cooked pasta and add to Tomato sauce mixture.  Add grilled chicken, grape tomatoes, half of the mozzarella and half of the basil.  Toss to combine.
4.  Pour mixture into a greased casserole or baking dish.  Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese and cook pasta uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, until cheese is melted gooey goodness.  Serve sprinkled with remaining basil.


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