Monday, January 14, 2013

Pass the Pomodoro, Please!


My husband loves pasta, I mean LOVES it.  Sometimes he creates his own little pasta creations to eat when I'm not home.  He mixes in cheese and seasonings depending on his mood.  One day I checked the pantry to see if I had penne pasta because I had planned to make baked ziti with meatballs.  Indeed, there was a box.  So I left for the store to get a few other ingredients (not pasta).  Little did I know that he had eaten most of the box of penne pasta!  I tried to switch it up and make baked fettucini with meatballs, but it was kind of a disaster.  Next time I'll pick the box up and make sure.

He also loves chicken.  If I ask him what he wants for dinner, nine times out of ten he says fried chicken.  Of course, he doesn't get it that often, just sometimes.  But I do make him a lot of other chicken dishes.  So, needless to say, he gets a lot of both pasta and chicken.

So one day after work I wandered the produce section of the grocery store for inspiration, and I found it...Roma tomatoes, bright red, beautiful tomatoes.   I wanted Chicken Pomodoro.  Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomatoes.  The traditional Italian Pasta al Pomodoro is a light dish with pasta, olive oil, tomatoes and basil.  The Americanized version is a little different.  It's based on a cream sauce with tomatoes, vodka, and a lightly breaded chicken breast.  And, of course, I can't leave any recipe alone.  I have to add and tweak.  My family loved the outcome.  And, as you can see by the picture, I served it with Pan-Seared Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar (that recipe is under Sides).  I hope you'll give it a try.  Maybe you'll be a pomodoro fan too.

CHICKEN POMODORO

 6 chicken breasts
1 1/2 C flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 C chicken stock
5 Roma tomatoes
2 shallots, chopped
3 T fresh basil, chopped
1/2 C cream cheese
1 T balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C vodka
1 1/2 C heavy cream
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 lb capellini pasta (angel hair)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Mix flour, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley flakes and seasoned salt together.  Coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil and heat over medium high heat.  Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture and lightly fry until browned on both sides.  Transfer the chicken to a sheet pan and continue cooking there until done.

Start cooking pasta according to directions.  To begin your sauce, cook shallots in a skillet coated with olive oil until they are translucent.  Deglaze the pan with the vodka and cook about a minute.  Stir in the balsamic vinegar.  Now throw in the tomatoes.  Add in the chicken stock and garlic and bring to a simmer to reduce the stock, about 2 minutes.  Now add in the cream, cream cheese, and Parmesan cheese.  Cook until the cream cheese is melted.  Add in the basil and turn the heat off.  Check your seasonings and add salt and pepper.

To serve, put a mound of pasta on the plate.  Place a chicken breast over the pasta, and ladle some sauce over both. 

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