Sometimes I cheat a little bit a give you a “knockoff” or “copycat” copy of a famous (or infamous, as the case may be) recipe. If I have changed it to make it easier, friendlier, or in my never humble opinion, a little better, I tell you it’s adapted from so-and-so or such-and-such. Sometimes the changes are so drastic that it doesn’t bear much similarity at all!
This one, however, is as close to one at TGF you know when, as I’ve seen. It does takes several steps but fortunately, they can be done mostly in advance. Only the boiling of the pasta (and I do recommend whole wheat for extra flavor, texture, whole grains and fiber) and the grilling or sautéing need to be done at the last minute!
While there are a couple of pots to be washed (remember my adage: those who cook don’t have to clean up; those who just eat….DO! If you live alone – as I do, well….you’re just stuck!) All you need alongside is a salad (make it easy and buy one at the grocery if you want), maybe some garlic bread (ditto), and a bottle of wine (ditto again).
Great family fare and for company, too. Hearty, healthy and tasty and relatively inexpensive, too (especially if you buy the family pack of chicken breasts on the bone, skin them yourself) and toss some of the skin and all the bones in a baggie in the freezer. When you’ve got a big bagful, get a package of chicken wings, or a whole chicken and make chicken soup! Freeze the soup for the winter and for using as stock (cook it down for stock). Later this month, I’ll give you a recipe for Cranberry Chicken salad, the kind you get it in the deli – and you can use the cooked chicken from the soup for that! An easy way to save some $$$.
Meanwhile, enjoy this one!
Friday’s ‘Copycat’ Bruschetta Chicken Pasta
- 4 4-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 lb. angel hair pasta (whole wheat if possible)
- 6 – 8 medium size roma tomatoes
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced into ‘coins’ (if small, use 3 garlic cloves)
- 10 fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste. (Don’t overdo it as there will be more in the Bruschetta topping.) Grill 3 – 4 minutes per side for grill marks to show or sauté in an extra few drops of olive oil until lightly brown and interior reaches 165 on instant read thermometer. (Grill or sauté just before serving.)
Wash, core and dice roma tomatoes and dice to 1/4” pieces. Save juices and place in a small bowl. Wash, dry and cut basil leaves into chiffonade (roll them up and then slice them into thin slices). Combine tomatoes, basil, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, salt, and pepper and set aside for 2 hours before use. This will allow the flavors to blend together nicely.
In large, heavy-bottom saucepan under medium-low flame, add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and heat for about 20 seconds. Sauté garlic coins until soft and tender. If they start to brown, discard and start over! Increase heat and add tomato salad and stir. Add plain tomato sauce to large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add cooked pasta to sauce and toss so pasta is just coated with sauce.
Transfer to serving platter (or individual plates). Garnish with balsamic glaze. Slice chicken breast into strips (cut on the bias – 45 degree angle) and place on top of glazed tomato salad. Additional glaze can be added to chicken if desired. Garnish with chopped parsley or basil if desired.
Balsamic Glaze: Bring balsamic vinegar and sugar to a boil in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan and turn down to a simmer. Reduce by 75% until sauce turns to a thick syrup. Can be made in advance and held at room temperature.