I have always been a lover of pasta. It’s the Italian in me. On the contrary, I have always been a hater of store-bought pasta sauce. It’s the Italian in me. When I go to a restaurant, the first thing I look for on the menu is the pasta section (most restaurants don’t actually have a pasta section, so it’s an automatic five stars for the few that do). My problem is that, as a 21 year old college student, I can’t always afford to go out to dinner whenever I’m craving pasta. And since store-bought sauce is a no, I’m left with two choices: go to my grandma’s house or make the sauce myself. Nothing against Grandma, but I decided to take a stab at my own homemade sauce.
I love thick, creamy sauce, but I wanted something with tomato flavor. I used heavy cream to get an alfredo-like thickness and added chopped tomatoes; I let them simmer to ensure that the tomato juice blended into the sauce. Freshly grated parmesan added intense flavor and thickened the sauce to perfection. A good sauce is the foundation of any hearty pasta dish, and it’s easier to make than you might think.
4 tbsp. butter
2/3 c heavy cream
¾ c freshly grated parmesan
2 c penne
2 thin-sliced chicken breasts
2 tomatoes, chopped
1-2 medium-sized fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 garlic clove
3 tbsp. olive oil
Salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper to taste
Cook penne according to package instructions. Season chicken with salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper to taste. Cook chicken in olive oil on medium low heat for 5-6 minutes on each side or until center is not pink. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small pan. Add cream and fresh Parmesan when melted. Then, add tomatoes, basil and garlic. Let simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Chop cooked chicken and put over pasta. Pour sauce over pasta and serve immediately.