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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Penne

I saw this pasta recipe on one of my favorite blogs the other day and knew I had to put it on the weekly menu.  It quickly replaced Thursday's dinner plans and I ran out to the store and bought all of the ingredients that I needed.  It does take some planning and coordinating time (you'll need to cook your chicken, roast your red peppers, and make the pesto sauce) but it took about an hour from start to finish with all of the steps involved.  Each step was fairly easy.  Alternatively, you could buy jarred roasted red peppers, but as I learned with this recipe, it is ridiculously easy to make your own at home!
I highly recommend serving this with a fresh loaf of bread from your local grocer or bakery.  I bought a asiago-peppercorn baguette from Lunds and it was delicious with this pasta!  There was enough for leftovers the next day and I swore it tasted even better than the night we ate it.  Enjoy!
Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Penne
from Closet Cooking
Yield: 4 servings
  • For Red Pepper Pesto
    • 2 large roasted red peppers (see instructions)
    • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano
    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
    • 2 Tbsp feta (crumbled)
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
    • salt and pepper to taste
  • For Penne
    • 1 lb chicken breasts, cooked and diced (or shredded)
    • 1 pound pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
    • 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup greek style roasted red pepper pesto
    • 1/4 cup kalamata olives (pitted and coarsely chopped)
    • 1 handful parsley (chopped)
    • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
    • pine nuts, for serving
  1. For Roasted Red Peppers:  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, then change to broil before placing peppers in the oven.  Cut the red peppers in half, remove the stem and the seeds.  Place the red peppers on the baking sheet with the cut side facing down.  Place the baking sheet on the top shelf in the oven and broil until the outer layer of the skin has blackened, about 10-20 minutes.  (Note: It need not blacken the entire pepper.)  Place the peppers in a zip-lock bag or other sealable container, seal and let the peppers cool until you can handle them, about 20 minutes.  Remove the skins from the peppers.  (The skins should easily "pinch" off.)
  2. For Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Sauce:  Place all ingredients into a food processor and puree until smooth.
  3. For Penne: Cook the pasta according to package instructions.  Drain the pasta and reserve about 1/3-1/2 cup of the pasta water.  Add in the cooked chicken breasts.  Then, toss the pasta with the pesto (you should use all of the pesto you have made), pasta water, olives and parsley.
  4. Serve garnished with crumbled feta and pine nuts, if desired.

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