Have you tried the The Pioneer Woman’s Penne a la Betsy yet? I tried it a few weeks ago and Oh. My. Gosh.
It’s wonderful! The first time, I made it following her directions exactly and used shrimp. It was wonderful. I definitely wanted to try it again, this time with chicken. You could also leave out meat all together and this would make a scrumptious pasta side dish. The sauce, really, is to die for, I don’t know where Tomato Cream sauce has been all my life but now I’ve found it and I’m never letting it go again.
First, rinse your chicken breasts in cold water, then lay on some wax paper.
Cover with another sheet of wax paper.
And pound breasts with the smooth side of a mallet until even thickness.
You don’t want to get them too thin, you just want them to be even, so they’ll cook evenly. If you don’t have a meat pounder you could also use a rolling pin or the side of a can or something. See? Nice and even. :)
Season both sides of the chicken with Montreal Steak seasoning. This stuff is awesome and it’s good on everything.
At this point, you can either grill the chicken outside, or if you prefer, you can cook it in a skillet inside.
Preheat grill for medium high heat, lightly oil grate (we spray with Pam for Grilling), and grill chicken breasts on medium high heat for 6-8 mins each side.
Heat 2 tbsp butter & 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter and olive oil is nice and hot, add chicken breasts and cook 5 mins each side.
You’re going to be slicing the chicken up later anyway, so it’s okay to go ahead and cut it right in half to make sure the chicken’s done. I always do! :)
Now let me stop you right here. This chicken is wonderful, flavorful and *delicious* just the way it is. I could eat this as a meal just like this. :D
But tonight we’re making pasta so we’re just gonna leave it on this plate and let it cool off for a bit, kay?
Let’s start making that pasta right now. In a large pot, add water and 1 tbsp salt. Bring to boil and add penne pasta and cook according to package directions. I usually dump in 1/2 of a 1 lb box of noodles and that’s plenty for the two of us. I made this for 4 adults once and I used 3/4 of a 1 lb box and that was perfect for 4 people.
Now. About that 1 tablespoon of salt. :) Salt water really brings out a wonderful flavor in dry pasta that you can’t get if you don’t salt your water properly. Noodles boiled in salt water? I could just eat ‘em plain, they’re so good. If I’m using a large pot (like for spaghetti) I add in 1 tbsp salt. If I’m using a small sauce pan (like for mac and cheese) I use 1 teaspoon. Here’s a good gauge: Taste test your water- it should taste like the sea- salt water! :) Try it, you won’t be disappointed. :)
Now… onto the heavenly, tomato cream sauce. :)
Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is tender, but do not let the garlic turn brown. This should take about 3-5 mins.
Add in 1/2 cup chicken broth and turn up heat to medium high.
Now, we’re gonna let this chicken broth reduce while we slice up our chicken. It should be cool enough to handle by now.
Slice it up!
Now let’s check on our chicken broth…
That’s what I call McSteamy! It is important to let your chicken broth reduce by half because if you don’t, the sauce will be runny and soupy. This looks good here, I could’ve left a little more broth in there, but whatever. :)
Pour in your tomato sauce…
And your cream… and try to make a psychedelic design, please.
Add 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and mix it all up.
Now taste it. This is important. :D
I ended up adding another 1/2 tsp salt and another 1/2 tsp pepper because it needed it. And then it was perfect. :D
Turn your heat to low and keep the sauce warm. We’re gonna go chop some herbs. Now, if you’re like me, you can just run over to your neighbor’s beautiful, lush garden and pick some fresh basil and parsley right off the bush. :D However, I realize not everyone is as fortunate as I am to have a generous, green thumbed neighbor with a beautiful, lush garden right next door. In that case, fresh herbs can be found in your grocery store in the produce section! They are in zippered, labeled bags and hanging up on the wall. Couldn’t be easier, and if you’ve never cooked with fresh herbs before you are in for a *treat*!!! The flavor is amazing, wow, oh wow. This dish alone could inspire you to start your very own herb garden. :) Oh, one more thing, I would try to buy the basil on the same day you’re going to be using it. It really is only good for a day or so, then it starts to wilt. Parsley, on the other hand, easily lasts a week. Probably more.
Okay. So. Whether they’re from a bag or a garden, grab 6-8 basil leaves, and stack them up:
Then roll ‘em up, as tight as you can:
With a good paring knife, slice thinly:
Til you have this! This is what’s called a chiffonade. We have chiffonaded the basil. :p
Now. Onto the parsley. Grab some parsley leaves… Okay, that doesn’t look like many in the pic. I probably used about twice what this picture looks like. lol.
Can you keep a secret? I cheat chopping up my parsley leaves. You could use the same paring knife you used on the basil but….
I use this. My Pampered Chef chopper. I love it. It works great. It does a better job than me. :p
You need about 1 tbsp of chopped parsley.
When all your herbs are chopped, throw em in the sauce, and mix well.
Now, my camera must’ve gone AWOL at this point because I don’t have a pic, but anyway, drain your noodles and pour them in the sauce. Stir until all the noodles are coated. At this point, you could go ahead and stir your chicken in too, or…. for a cool presentation….
Serve the noodles on a plate and top with sliced chicken:
Are you hungry yet? :D
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Montreal Steak seasoning
- ½ pound penne pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- Rinse chicken breasts in cold water. Layer between sheets of wax paper and pound to even thickness. Season both sides with Montreal Steak seasoning. Preheat grill for medium high heat, lightly oil grate, and grill chicken breasts on medium high heat for 6-8 mins each side. OR heat 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter and olive oil is nice and hot, add chicken breasts and cook 5 mins each side. Set chicken aside to cool.
- In a large pot, boil water with 1 tbsp salt. Add ½ pound penne pasta noodles and boil according to package directions. Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is tender, but do not let the garlic turn brown (about 1 minute). Add the chicken broth to the pan and allow to reduce by half. Meanwhile, slice chicken.
- Once the broth has reduced, stir in tomato sauce. Add the heavy cream and stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn heat to low. Chop the parsley and basil, add to sauce and mix well. Drain pasta and add to sauce. Stir well to coat. Serve pasta on plates, top with sliced chicken.