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Chicken penne with creamy tomato sauce

Published On: Apr 24 2012 02:59:08 PM EDT
Updated On: Sep 29 2010 06:06:15 AM EDT
Penne pasta

loleia/SXC

Makes 4 servings

Here's the perfect excuse to bring together a group of friends. It's one of my favorite dishes for easy entertaining, and it always received raves. I accompany the pasta with artisan bread and a fresh green salad tossed with balsamic vinaigrette.

8 ounces penne pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch squares

Salt and pepper

1 (14-ounce) can tomatoes with Italian herbs

½ cup roasted red bell pepper in ¼-inch strips

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup arugula leaves, stems removed and discarded

½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

¼ cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste

Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling water according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and a dash of salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes or until the chicken is lightly browned and thoroughly cooked. Stir in the tomatoes, bell pepper, and garlic. When the liquid begins to bubble, reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the arugula and basil. When they are wilted, stir in the cream, vinegar, and red pepper flakes. (Do not let the mixture come to a boil.)

When the penne is done, drain well. Return it to the cooking pan. Add the sauce and stir until evenly combined. Adjust the red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste.