Penne with sun-dried tomato cream sauce is fast enough for a weeknight dinner but fancy enough for a special dinner for two. It’s rich and creamy and loaded with flavour. You can even make it a vegetarian dish by just leaving out the chicken.
This is the type of pasta you get in a restaurant. It’s all about taste. It’s unapologetic. There’s no consideration whatsoever given to anything but taste in fact. Butter, cream, cheese and pasta. Little bits of sun-dried tomatoes and chicken to mix it up. Fresh crushed black pepper, fresh basil and chili flakes to finish it off.
One thing to note. Take the time to finish cooking the pasta in the sauce. Do this and everything comes together. Cook them together and it’s pasta and sauce. Pour sauce overtop cooked pasta and it’s pasta with sauce. There’s a big difference. If you’ve never tried this technique you should try it.
Penne with sun-dried tomato cream sauce is not something you should eat every day. But it is something you should treat yourself to every now and then.
- 3 chicken breasts or 6 chicken thighs - boneless and skinless
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup chicken stock or pasta cooking water
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil sliced thinly
- 1 cup parmegiana reggiano grated
- salt to taste start at about 1/2 tsp and adjust from there. You'll be surprised how much it takes.
- 1/2-1 tsp red chili flakes
- 12 oz penne
- fresh ground black pepper
- a few basil leaves shredded
- Heat a large pot of water and salt it well. Well salted means it tastes like the sea.
- Cook the pasta per package instructions. Use a timer.
- Drain the pasta and reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water.
- Melt the butter in a pan large enough to hold all the cooked pasta with some room to spare.
- Add the chicken and cook until it starts to brown. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Mix in the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the chicken stock or pasta water and salt. Cook until the chicken is almost done. This will take another three minutes or so. Some of the water will evaporate.
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes and cream. Bring to a simmer.
- Stir in the parmigiano reggiano, Taste and adjust for salt then add the pasta.
- Simmer the pasta for a minute, stirring constantly to thoroughly coat the pasta with the sauce and distribute the tomatoes.
- To serve, divide into four portions and garnish with black pepper, a bit more parmigiana reggiano and the shredded basil.
When picking the pan to make this don't just pick one that's large enough to hold the pasta. Pick one that gives you the maximum surface area. That will make mixing the pasta and the sauce much easier.