I gotta tell ya, this was one of the most difficult dishes to make. And not for the reasons you might think. The first time I had this one-pot wonder on our meal planner was the day after restaurants closed for the second time in California. Don’t ask me why, but I felt very rebellious. Fine, if we can’t eat out, I won’t cook at all was my attitude. We can starve. That in itself made no sense since we don’t eat out very often. It was just frustrating to have options removed.
I think I was reacting to the elimination of choice. I really didn’t want to eat out, but I did want that option. And not curb side pickup or eating outside in make-shift dining rooms staged in parking lots. Here in the central valley, it’s too darn hot to sit outside on blacktop.
Thank goodness for Hubby. He didn’t press me. Instead he cooked up some burgers on the backyard grill. And the truth of the matter is my guys would rather have burgers or pizza or anything easy than to clean up after I’ve been buzzing about in the kitchen. This is especially true through this whole pandemic stay-home experience. With so much time on my hands cooking became a much needed outlet. And the messes grew.
The next time I put this dish on our meal planner, we decided very last minute to get out of Dodge so to speak. We rented a condo on the Oregon Coast and headed out to watch the whales swim by. The condo was a perfect choice in that we would unpack and settle in for an extended stay in lodgings that included a kitchen. Since cooking was limited to the cookware available, I revamped our get away menu to keep it simple. Anytime you are renting someone else’s kitchen, you never know what you’ll have to work with. One thing I learned, pack my own good knives and a cutting board.
Anyway once again the Creamy Chicken Penne with a luscious Red Pepper Sauce was postponed. Besides, a dish like this was bound to create leftovers for easy lunches or midnight snacks and leftovers really didn’t fit in to our vacation plans. One more postponement.
Oh, and one more thing – today is National Underwear Day, so a one-pot supper is something you could cook in your underwear. Call the family to gather ’round the table in their underwear. Wow – what a sight that would be!
One-Pot Creamy Chicken Penne
2 boneless Chicken Breasts
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 tablespoon Butter
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise to create 4 thin breasts. Season with Italian seasoning and set aside.
Melt butter with olive oil in a 5-quart Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add breasts, cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes per side. Remove chicken from pot, set aside to cool. Remove pot from heat.
1 (12 oz) jar Roasted Red Pepper
1 cup Heavy Cream
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoons Butter
2 Garlic Cloves
2-3/4 cups Chicken Stock
2-1/3 (8 oz) cups uncooked Penne Pasta
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
1 (5 oz) bag Baby Spinach
Thoroughly drain peppers. In blender, place roasted peppers, cream and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Cover and blend on medium speed until smooth. Set aside.
Heat butter over medium heat in the Dutch Oven. Peel garlic, press directly into the pot and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until garlic is tender.
Add stock, pasta, salt and pepper; heat to boiling. Simmer uncovered 11 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente and most of liquid is absorbed.
While the pasta cooks, shred the chicken and set aside.
When the pasta is ready, stir in chicken and roasted peppers mixture. Continue heating 4 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until heated through and sauce starts to thicken. Gradually add spinach, stirring constantly, until starting to wilt. Remove from heat; serve with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese to garnish as desired.
Great with warm bread to soak up the sauce.