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sun-dried tomato chicken pasta with mozzarella cream sauce
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Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Chicken and Creamy Mozzarella Sauce

This easy Italian-inspired Chicken Mozzarella Pasta features sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, and paprika.  The sun-dried tomato sauce is the star of this recipe!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword chicken mozzarella pasta, sun-dried tomato pasta
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 641kcal
Author Julia

Ingredients

  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 4 oz sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken breast tenderloins , sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup half and half (or use ½ cup heavy cream + ½ cup milk)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese , shredded (do not use fresh Mozzarella, use pre-shredded Mozzarella)
  • 8 oz penne pasta (for gluten free, use gluten free brown rice pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup reserved cooked pasta water or more
  • ¼ teaspoon salt to taste

Instructions

  • In a large skillet, sauté garlic and sun-dried tomatoes (drained from oil) in 2 tablespoons of olive oil (reserved from the sun-dried tomatoes jar) for 1 minute on medium heat until the garlic is fragrant. 
  • Remove the sun-dried tomatoes from the skillet, leaving the olive oil.   
  • Add sliced chicken (salted and lightly covered in paprika for color) and cook on high heat for 1 minute on each side. Remove from heat.
  • Cook pasta according to package instructions.    Reserve some cooked pasta water. Drain the pasta.
  • Slice sun-dried tomatoes into smaller pieces and add them back to the skillet with chicken.  
  • To make creamy pasta sauce, add half-and-half (see substitution for half-and-half in the Recipe Notes section below) and Mozzarella cheese to the skillet, and bring to a gentle boil. 
  • Immediately reduce to simmer and cook, constantly stirring, until all cheese melts and creamy sauce forms. 
  • Add cooked and drained pasta to the skillet with the cream sauce, and stir to combine. 
  • Add 1 tablespoon of basil, and at least ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.
  • If the creamy sauce is too thick: Add about ½ cup of reserved cooked pasta water to the skillet to thin it out.   Do not add all of pasta water at once - you might need less or more of it.  
  • Season the chicken pasta with salt and more red pepper flakes, to taste, if needed. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes for flavors to combine.
  • Note: Make sure to salt the dish just enough to bring out of the flavors of basil and sun-dried tomatoes.  

Notes

  • What is half-and-half?  Substitute ½ cup of milk + ½ cup of heavy cream for 1 cup of half-and-half.
  • If using sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (in a jar), make sure to drain sun-dried tomatoes from oil, before using them. Reserve 2 tablespoons of this drained olive oil.
  • Do not use fresh Mozzarella.  Fresh Mozzarella is usually sold as a large ball or small balls in a brine or water solution.    Do not shred fresh Mozzarella.  Use pre-shredded Mozzarella cheese sold in bags.  

Nutrition

Calories: 641kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 700mg | Potassium: 1626mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 810IU | Vitamin C: 13.7mg | Calcium: 258mg | Iron: 3.9mg