Cooking On A Budget: Pasta and Chicken with Italian Cream

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Pasta and Chicken with Italian Cream

Yum


For what seems like only yesterday but in reality is many years ago now, the company I worked for doing inside sales among a myriad of other duties hired someone to represent their brand out in the field for their major distributors and the cable industry at large. Eric became a lifelong friend despite a long absence from the company. Thankfully he was re-hired last year so I get to see him more than just once a year. He was flying in this week from Chicago and it gave me an opportunity to spend some time with him.

We invited him over to have dinner with us. I decided to keep the dinner simple knowing that Eric would not expect an elaborate meal but more that he would be happy just to spend some time with us. Suffice to say that I made a dish from an idea that I got on Pinterest and did not know how it would come out. We all dipped into the platter for a second helping. Pasta and chicken with Italian cream is a simple and delightful meal that abounds with flavor. I think you'll really like this one.

The dish doesn't take a long time to cook making it a perfect meal to pull off any night of the week. It's creamy and as I said packed with flavor. I had shy of one box of ziti so I used a little bit of cellantani pasta as well, so combining like pastas will be just fine.

  • 1 lb. boneless/skinless chicken - cut into medallions
  • 1/2 box penne pasta or ziti
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole tomatoes with juice
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese - shredded
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  •  3 large garlic cloves - minced
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Wash your chicken and remove any excess silver skin or fat. Dry with paper towels. Cut the chicken against the grain into medallions. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken.
  2. Have all of your other ingredients ready to go. Cook the pasta according to box directions and RESERVE 1 1/4 cups of the pasta water. Be sure to salt the pasta water and DO NOT overcook the pasta. You want the pasta cooked el dente at the least as it cooks a while longer! Set the cooked pasta to the side.
  3. Fire up a deep skillet and over medium high heat melt the butter with the olive oil. Let this get hot. Place chicken medallions in the pan and sear on both sides to a golden brown. Remove from the pan and place on a plate or in a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium or medium low and add in the garlic. Stir and cook until you get that nice fragrance from the garlic, but don't burn the garlic.
  5. Add the reserved pasta water to the pan and stir getting up all the good bits. To that whisk in the ricotta cheese until well blended.
  6. Then add in the tomato paste and whisk until incorporated and add in the parsley, basil, paprika and red pepper flakes.
  7. Add in the whole tomatoes and break them down with a wooden spoon or other kitchen utensil.
  8. Turn the heat down to simmer and add in the cooked pasta and stir. Add in the chicken and mix well.
  9. Last add in the heavy cream and give a good stir. Cook on a simmer for 20-25 minutes making sure the chicken is fully cooked. If you are in doubt as to the chicken, pull out a medallion and cut it with a knife to be sure.
 

This is a family-friendly, budget friendly meal that is prepared with lots of ingredients you may already have at your disposal. It makes enough for 8-10 portions. If you have left-overs store them covered and keep refrigerated. Reheat with a little bit more cream or half and half next time you serve it. Serving 8 portions for $1.14 and 10 portions for 91¢. A bargain meal that is so very tasty and one your family will request again and again.



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