Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tomato Basil Pasta with Baked Chicken

You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces -- just good food from fresh ingredients. 
- Julia Child 

A basic tenant of cooking in our house is to keep things simple. This tomato-basil pasta recipe couldn't be much simpler. Unless our cupboard is truly bare, I always have the sauce ingredients on hand: tomatoes, basil, garlic, wine. It's easy to whip up on those occasional nights when I have no creative spark for cooking. It's reliable, it's quick, it's easy-- essential ingredients for an enjoyable home-cooked meal, in my opinion. 

Essentially, you do three things: cook some noodles, chop and saute tomatoes in garlic, and bake some chicken. I have a little rosemary plant growing in our kitchen. A bright, sweet herb within easy reach, this little plant finds its way into most of my meat seasonings. Drizzle a little EVOO and sprinkle a few rosemary sprigs to get a simple baked chicken.

Also, there's just something so bright and cheerful about grape tomatoes isn't there? Something quintessentially summertime. Their tangy scent automatically brightens my winter mood. I love cooking with them winter or summer. 

cherry or grape tomatoes, diced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
splash of wine
2 chicken breasts, butterflied
2 tbsps of Italian dressing
whole wheat spaghetti
pinch of sea salt
basil for garnish

Yes, I apologize, I'm one of those "pinch of this" and "a splash of that" cooks. 


1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Butterfly your chicken breasts (you don't have to, but I always do when cooking chicken) and place in your baking dish. Drizzle a little bit of Italian dressing over the chicken breasts and garnish with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. Place in heated oven and cook for about 45 minutes. 

2. In the meantime, cook your pasta according to the instructions. Drain, rinse, and set aside in a medium serving bowl. 

3. To prepare sauce: drizzle a tablespoon of EVOO onto your sauce pan. Once warm, saute the minced garlic. Add the diced tomatoes. Saute together until the tomatoes start to dissolve into a chunky sauce. Add a splash of wine for flavor. 

4.  Spoon sauce over the cooked noodles and garnish with fresh basil (or dried, if that's all you have). 

5. Serve with cooked chicken, a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, and a slice of crumbly French bread. 

Simple and good. In my opinion, that's all you really need from a home-cooked meal. 

What are some of your favorite go-to recipes? 

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