If you love Italian food then this is a deluxe meal you will most definitely want to try! It is fancy, loaded with fresh goodness, creamy, hearty and beyond good! You get everything that’s on your average Caprese Chicken and so much more, with the tender pasta, fire roasted tomato sauce, additional garlic (because I think they never put enough garlic in the store bought bottled spaghetti sauce, you could even add two cloves to the recipe), and yes of course the perfectly grilled chicken breast strips. This is a meal you are going to remember. If you wanted to really splurge you could even add in some cooked Pancetta or Bacon, yum! Sorry I didn’t get many pictures (I wanted more pictures with the grilled chicken showing through it’s kind of hidden in there), this was my families Sunday dinner and I couldn’t resist that ooey gooey cheesy goodness long. It was calling my name. I looked over to my husband and the cheese was dripping clear from the fork near his mouth to the plate sitting in his lap (yeah we ate this fancy meal on the couch, not usual but once in a while its fun =). Enjoy!
Grilled Chicken Caprese Pasta
Yield: 6 servings
- 2 medium chicken breast halves , grilled and diced into strips*
- 9 oz Rigatoni or Penne pasta
- 2 cups fire roasted tomato pasta sauce (I used Classico)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup finely grated Romano Cheese
- 1 clove garlic , finely minced
- red pepper flakes , to taste (optional, for added heat)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
- 1 pint grape tomatoes , diced into halves
- 12 oz fresh mozzarella , grated**
- 16 fresh Basil leaves , chopped chiffonade style (mine were fairly small)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta to al dente according to directions listed on package. While pasta is boiling, in a separate medium saucepan over medium low heat, heat tomato pasta sauce, heavy cream, Romano cheese, garlic, optional red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until cheese melts.
Drain cooked pasta well, return pasta to pot. Add in grilled diced chicken, grape tomatoes, half of the mozzarella and half of the basil ribbons, then pour warm sauce over mixture. Toss to evenly coat. Pour mixture into a greased casserole or baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and cook pasta uncovered for about 20 - 25 minutes until cheese is golden. Serve warm sprinkled with remaining fresh basil.
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from How Sweet It Is
*This was about 1 lb chicken. I placed the chicken in a ziploc bag then pounded each breast to an even thickness, then removed and sprayed each chicken breast lightly with olive oil cooking spray. I seasoned each side with salt, pepper and a light sprinkle of garlic powder. Then grilled them until cooked through, cut them in half thick wise (like cutting a bun), and diced them into fairly thin strips.
**I've heard some people say they have trouble grating fresh mozzarella, I had no problem with this but if you do you can freeze it for 20 minutes prior to grating. They don't need to be perfect shreds its really just to break it up.