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9/8 – Summer Tomato Pasta with Chicken

September 8, 2009

Chicken Monday was observed on Tuesday this week due to the fact that I enjoyed a delightful picnic at my Grandmother’s house yesterday for Labor Day.  This week’s recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks – Complete Vegetarian, edited by Nicola Graimes.  The book is a British publication, so the quantities are different than what we’re used to as American cooks, so I’ll represent them as I put them in the pot.  The one addition I made to this recipe was – you guessed it – chicken!  I had a large breast leftover from last week’s Chicken Monday, so the prep was very easy on this one!

Summer Tomato Pasta (with Chicken)

1/2 lb. dried penne (I used Farfalle (bow ties))

1/2 lb. plum tomatoes (Roughly 5, I used some of my Opalka heirlooms)

8 oz. mozzarella, drained (The recipe recommends the wet  kind, and I agree, having made this before with the dry kind, which was not as tasty.)

4 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon

8 fresh basil leaves, shredded

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup cooked chicken, cubed

fresh basil leaves, to garnish

1.) Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water until just tender.

2.) Quarter the tomatoes and remove the seeds, then chop the flesh into small cubes.  Slice up the mozzarella into similarly sized pieces.

3.) Mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, grated lemon rind, lemon juice and the basil.  You need to whisk it well to emulsify the oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the tomatoes, mozzarella, and chicken, stir and leave to stand while the pasta cooks.

4.) Drain the pasta well and toss with the tomato mixture.  Serve immediately, garnished with a few fresh basil leaves.

This is the perfect summer meal.  It is light and refreshing and all of the flavors are very clean.  There is very little to do over the stove so you won’t break a huge sweat.  I tend to make this recipe towards the end of summer, though, to take advantage of the ripe, juicy tomatoes that are finally making their way off the vines.  This was a perfect ease-your-way-back-to-work-after-a-long-holiday-weekend meal!

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