Female. Lives in United States/Illinois/Chicago, speaks English. My interests are Food, Restaurants, Cooking, Baking/Travel, Dining Out, Raising Children.
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United States, Illinois, Chicago, English, Female, Food, Restaurants, Cooking, Baking, Travel, Dining Out, Raising Children.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Provencal Chicken, Artichoke and Olive Pasta

About 4 years ago, Win and I took a trip to Nova Scotia, a beautiful and charming destination I highly recommend. While on the trip, I picked up a copy of a Canadian magazine called Chatelaine. It was a great issue and inside I found one of my all-time favorite pasta recipes: Provencal Chicken, Artichoke and Olive Pasta. This dish is easy, versatile, and it has been a big hit every time I’ve served it.

Provencal Chicken, Artichoke and Olive Pasta
Adapted from recipe found in Chatelaine magazine, September 2001
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves 6
411 calories per serving

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 small onion
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 large fresh tomatoes or 1 28-oz can drained plum tomatoes (either fresh or canned work fine)
1 teaspoon dried basil
6-oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, well-drained
½ cup pitted kalamata olives
1 pound short pasta, such as penne or rotini (I always use penne)
½ cup chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Finely chop onion. Heat oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add chicken, onion and garlic. Stir occasionally until chicken is golden. This should take about 4 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, core and coarsely chop fresh tomatoes and add to chicken along with any juice. Or stir in drained canned tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon. (Note: It’s fine to use either; canned works just as well)
3. Add basil, artichokes and olives then bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened a bit. This should take about 10 minutes.
4. While you are prepping the sauce and vegetables, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, uncovered, according to package directions. Drain well. If the pan containing your sauce is large enough, add drained pasta directly to sauce with parsley, salt and pepper. Stir to coat all pasta with sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan.

This pasta is really delicious. If you have some gorgeous fresh tomatoes in peak season, then use them. If you don’t have access to excellent fresh tomatoes at the time, then use canned without any hesitation. I have made this pasta both ways and they both work fine.

This won’t be pasta dripping in sauce. Rather, it’s lightly coated with the tomato sauce and accented by the bold flavors of artichoke, olive, onion and garlic. The amount of chicken doesn’t seem like much, but it’s actually just right with this dish.

I’ve served this dish to parents, in-laws, friends, and co-workers and they all have loved it. It’s easily transported to parties and reheats well, if needed (just remember to add the fresh parsley after reheating if that is your intention). While I usually serve it as an entrée, it also works well as a hearty side dish.

So delicious and easy, it’s a winner every time. I hope you think so too.

Next time: 1000 Recipes comes to Chicago