Sunday, June 9, 2013

Tomatoes on Tile Roofs


Ever wonder where sun-dried tomatoes came from?  Well, I did, so I looked it up.  Before refrigeration and ways to preserve food, the Italians would dry fresh tomatoes on top of their tile roofs so they would have tomatoes in the wintertime when fresh wasn't available.  For some reason, I found this pretty interesting.  Can you imagine walking through an old neighborhood in Italy and seeing tons of tomatoes on roofs?  I did, and it was quite a humorous image that I conjured up in my head.  You'd think the birds would come and eat them before they were dry.

Anyway, I love sun-dried tomatoes.  They are a bit tart and slightly sweet. If you've never had them, they look like large red raisins.  They come either dry or packed in oil.  They really give a punch of flavor to whatever you put them in.  I love the combination of tomatoes and basil, so I made a pasta with chicken and a sun-dried tomato basil cream sauce.  It's a little decadent, but it's so good it's worth it.

While I go on the roof to dry tomatoes, check out this recipe.

CHICKEN & SUN-DRIED TOMATO BASIL PASTA
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C white wine
2 C heavy cream
1/2 C chicken stock
1/4 C fresh basil, chopped
1/2 C shredded Parmesan cheese
1 onion, chopped
Olive oil
One 8-ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil, well drained
2 T flour
3 T butter
Salt & pepper, to taste
Red pepper flakes, to taste
1 lb angel hair pasta

Cook the pasta according to directions.

Preheat a large skillet or dutch oven to medium high heat.  Drizzle in some olive oil and add in the butter.  Cook the chicken for about 3 minutes or until it's cooked through.  Remove to a plate.  Add the onion to the skillet and cook until tender.  Add in the tomatoes and garlic. Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook until most of the liquid is gone. Add in the chicken stock and again cook until most of the liquid is gone. Add in the flour and whisk around to combine.  Add in the cream and whisk to combine.  Cook until thickened and bubbly.  Season with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the basil and the chicken.

Serve the sauce over the pasta and garnish with the Parmesan cheese.

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