Does anyone else get insatiable cravings for pasta? For me, it happens at least once a month. Maybe twice. And this is especially difficult lately for two reasons. First of all- I moved far, far away from my favorite Italian restaurant, Trattoria Firenze, in Salem, MA. As much as Texas does barbecue and Mexican food better than the northeast- they have nothing on the Boston area’s Italian eateries. Second- I’ve been trying to cut back on carbs lately. Not eliminate, but balance with an equal amount of protein (which can help you process carbohydrates more effectively) and make sure I’m only eating the “good” carbs- whole grains, brown rice, etc.
Enter: Chicken and Linguine with Tomato Basil Butter Sauce!
OH MY GOODNESS. This is good. Perfectly cooked chicken breasts atop a pile of al dente linguine and smothered in marinara tomato sauce with fresh basil, parmesan, and – you guessed it – a little bit of melted butter.
You are going to love this one. Not only will it transport you to your favorite Italian restaurant in a completely authentic way, but it’s also quick and easy to make. Perfect for a surprisingly “fancy” weeknight dinner in a hurry.
At this point in reading this post, you should commence playing Italian music in your head, pretending you are sitting outside at a restaurant in Capri, enjoying a beautiful view, delicious wine, and a big bowl of pasta. Because this is what it tastes like. Completely authentic, fresh, and absolutely delicious. Just like Italy!
Oops. I just followed my own instructions and got the song from Lady and the Tramp stuck in my head when they are sharing the plate of pasta. Thissss is the nightttt… it’s a beautifulll nightttt…and they call it bella notte…
I think I’ve gone a bit giddy thinking about how delicious this is.
First, you sear the chicken breasts – seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, in a cast iron skillet (or other large skillet) in olive oil until crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Easy peasy.
Here’s what makes this so delicious.
You deglaze the skillet with a bit of red wine and chicken stock before adding pre-made marinara sauce to it (I usually make my own, but when I need to buy store-bought I usually get Rao’s). This ensures that all of the delicious salty, garlicky browned bits from cooking the chicken incorporate into the sauce, making it extra special.
Then, once the sauce is heated all the way through, you add fresh chopped basil and melt a pad of butter into it.
Serve the sauce and the chicken over cooked linguine (or any other pasta you may have on hand) and sprinkle freshly grated parmesan cheese on top.
Are you still playing that Italian music in your head? Good. Now start making this. Pronto!
Recipe below :-)
Chicken and Linguine with Tomato Basil Butter Sauce
- 2 chicken breast filets
- 8 oz. whole wheat linguine or other pasta
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil reserve some for serving
- 2 tablespoons butter
- parmesan cheese for serving
- Season each side of the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet (preferably cast iron).
- Sear chicken on each side until browned and fully cooked on the inside (about 7 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the filets).
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions.
- When chicken is fully cooked, remove to a plate. Add red wine to the skillet and, using a metal spatula, scrape up all the browned bits from cooking the chicken. Allow red wine to reduce by about half by simmering for 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and marinara sauce. Heat through.
- Stir in the basil and the butter. Heat until butter is melted.
- Serve chicken atop the pasta with a generous portion of sauce, sprinkled with remaining basil and parmesan cheese.