Saturday, November 10, 2012

Chicken Breasts w/ Penne & Garlic & Herb Tomato Sauce

Happy weekend everyone!

We'll be headed to Lexington, KY this evening to take part in a Kentucky Food Blogger event hosted by Kate from Simply Nutritious by Kate.  She just moved in to an awesome studio kitchen where she teaches a variety of health-focused classes.  I'm definitely excited to check it out and see what she's whipped up for us!

Anyway, this is one of those simple and delicious dinners.  You can choose to get canned diced tomatoes if you'd like, but if you want to put a little extra love into it, I highly suggest getting some vine-ripened tomatoes, peeling, seeding, and cutting them.  It really isn't THAT much more time-consuming.  =)


Tomato Sauce:

1 small onion, small diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons flour
6-8 vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded, & roughly chopped (juice reserved)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cloves of garlic, mashed
cheesecloth sachet filled with parsley stems, bay leaf, and black peppercorns
pinch of fennel seeds
pinch of saffron
pinch of ground coriander
zest from 1 orange
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons tomato paste

Penne Pasta

2 chicken breasts, skin on
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

The longer your tomato sauce sits on the stove, the more flavor that will develop.  However, it only needs about 30 minutes to be finished, so don't fret that you don't have time =)

In a medium stockpot, cook the onions and olive oil under medium low heat until the onions are translucent, about 8-10 minutes.

Stir in the flour and cook for about 2-3 minutes, until a slight roux is formed.

Add in the tomatoes, tomato juice, sugar, garlic, sachet, fennel, saffron, coriander, and orange zest.  Cover the pot and raise the heat to medium.  Cook for about 10 minutes to the tomatoes will release more of their liquid.  Remove lid and let simmer for at least 30 more minutes, adding water if sauce becomes to thick or risks burning.  Stir in tomato paste for deeper color and let simmer for about 2-3 minutes.  Remove herb sachet and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add penne and cook until al dente.  Drain, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water.

Heat a large oven-proof skillet under medium high heat and melt butter.  Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides.  Add chicken, skin-side down to pan and cook until skin is golden brown, about 4-5 minutes.  Turn chicken over and transfer pan to oven to finish cooking, about 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts.  Let chicken rest for about 5 minutes before slicing.

Add pasta to tomato sauce, adding additional pasta water, if necessary.  Toss until pasta is well-coated.  Place a decent amount of pasta on plate and top with sliced chicken and garnish with chopped parsley.

A little effort goes a long way.  This tomato sauce has floral and citrus notes that compares to no other.  Andy said it was one of the best pasta sauces he's ever had.  Score!  Hope you guys try this soon =)  Have a great weekend!


  1. Hi, Peggy! Thanks for stopping by my blog - your recipes look great & I'm looking forward to exploring more. But, this sauce sounds wonderful! I make pasta all the time and think your flavor combination sounds terrific!

  2. This is one of those classic perfect dishes exploding with flavors. Yes we must try to avoid laziness and get fresh tomatoes. Love the saffron touch.

  3. Thank you for stopping by my site. Love so many of the dishes you have on here. Have you made Marcella Hazan's fresh tomato sauce? Tomatoes, butter, onion and salt and so good. I can wait to try your recipe. Tomato sauce is a big favorite of mine.