Friday, March 18, 2011

Warm Three Cheese Pasta with Sun-dried Tomato, Basil, Chicken and Creamy Balsamic Dressing

Long name but descriptive. Just looking at these pictures again makes me hungry. This is an Elsa original recipe...enjoy!

First the ingredients for the pasta mixture:

- 1/2 lb. of pasta (I used penne but it would work well with other kinds like rotini)
- 2 boiled chicken breasts, cubed (see boiling how-to below)
- about 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, cubed
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomato, chopped
- 2-3 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 1/2 cup goat cheese, broken up into pieces
- salt and pepper
- Creamy balsamic dressing (recipe below)

And now the method:

- boil chicken: put chicken breasts in medium saucepan, fill with cold water, bring pot to boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes or until thickest part of chicken reads 160 degrees on meat thermometer
- cook pasta until 'al dente', drain and set aside with lid on to keep warm
- while pasta is cooking, mix together...

- ...sun-dried tomato, basil, goat cheese and mozzarella cheese. Season mixture with salt and pepper.

- make creamy balsamic dressing by combining 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup mayo, some salt and pepper, then drizzle in about 3/4 cup olive oil while whisking (it's hard for me to put this into measurements though cause I do it by sight and make sure to taste!)

- add chicken to mixture. Season with some salt and pepper.
- add warm pasta to chicken and cheese/sun-dried tomato mixture and toss
- add some of the dressing to mixture and toss well (taste and add more to taste)
- top with 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (you didn't think I forgot the third cheese, did you?), some fresh basil and a few sun-dried tomatoes

The finished product...

Extra tips:
- You can make the chicken a different way if you want. I like using boiled chicken for this recipe because it stays really moist.
- This method is for serving warm but it is also good cold or as leftovers. I like to save some extra dressing and toss a little bit with the leftovers to moisten up again.

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