|Peppers, Pasta and Sauteed Chicken|
There is an Open Refrigerator Policy in my kitchen. The first time my kids' friends visit, I will make lunch, a snack, or dinner for them. After that initial visit, they know they are welcome to help themselves to whatever is in the refrigerator or pantry.
I know what the friends like to eat and drink. No Thank You Boy's friend Two Scoops - so named because he always wants another scoop of whatever he is eating - likes apple juice. There will be a bottle of his favorite drink in the refrigerator when he stops by. Another friend of NTYB, referred to as Eddie Haskell because he reminds me of the brown-nosing character from the 1960's Leave It To Beaver television show, devours ultra-spicy chicken wings. More times than not, there is a batch in the freezer ready to go in the oven. Pancakes are popular with any sleepover guests, and a batch can be quickly whipped up even if still blurred eyed from not getting enough sleep.
One Saturday afternoon found a couple friends of No Thank You Boy stopping by for football and a few games on Playstation. Around lunchtime, I was preparing Peppers, Pasta and Sauteed Chicken. Two Scoops happened to be one of the friends visiting. When he first arrived, he stated that he was not hungry. As the smells of the onions, red peppers, and garlic sauteing began to waft into the family room, he wanted to know what I was making. By the time I was tossing the pasta and chicken with the tomatoey sauce laced with peppers, he was sitting at my island ready to be the first one to dig in.
Knowing that I am always looking for feedback on my cooking, he volunteered, "This bursting with flavor. It's like a party in my mouth."
The sauce is light yet flavorful. It soaks into the pasta adding savory flavor without being heavy. A generous sprinkle of goat cheese adds the perfect tangy contrast. This is the lunch I like to eat. Comforting and filling but not so much as to make you feel stuffed.
Peppers, Pasta and Sauteed Chicken is a prefect lunch that does not induce a nap. I may still take a nap though because naps are good.
Peppers, Pasta, and Sauteed Chicken
serves about 6
4 cups small-sized pasta such as rotini, penne, or rigatoni
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders, cut in bite-sized pieces
2 red bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
dash of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon basil, dried
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken broth
Parmesan or goat cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions. Transfer to a large serving bowl and cover to keep warm.
Heat a large saute pan to medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and saute for 4 - 5 minutes or just cooked through. Add to pasta.
In the same saute pan over medium high heat, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, red peppers and onions. Saute for an additional 5 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and basil and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 - 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and pour sauce over the chicken and pasta. Toss to coat. The sauce is thinner than a typical marinara sauce and will soak into the pasta.
Spoon into shallow bowls and sprinkle generously with Parmesan or goat cheese. My preference is for the tangy goat cheese which melts into the sauce making it creamy.