Durham named as one of the Best Places to Live 2009!! I’m glad Durham is getting all the recognition it deserves!
I finally feel like I have my life back together from a weeks worth of house prepping and entertaining (though our company was WELL worth the life disruption). We loved having my family and enjoy having house guests!
This pasta toss was fun to make and is bursting with spring flavor. I chopped and stirred in the rest of our grilled vegetables instead of adding chicken as the dish called to do. I also subbed pesto for the fresh basil and goat cheese for the blue cheese – I bet either way you go the combination of flavors will really wow any crowd! Best of all, we’ve got four portions for leftovers!
- 3 pints grape or cherry tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons EVOO
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 6 slices bacon
- 1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 avocado, pitted and diced
- 1 lemon
- A few dashes hot sauce
- 4 to 5 scallions, thinly sliced on a bias
- 6 oz goat cheese or blue cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup basil pesto
Preheat an oven to 400ºF. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat to boil.
Scatter the tomatoes onto a baking sheet and drizzle with about 2 tablespoons EVOO and some salt and pepper. Toss lightly to coat and roast them in the hot oven until they burst open and are tender, 12-15 minutes.
Place the bacon on a broiler pan and transfer to the oven as well. Cook until crispy, about 15 minutes.
While the tomatoes and bacon are in the oven, drop the pasta in the boiling water and cook to al dente according to package directions. When the pasta is ready, reserve a large mug of the starchy cooking water and then drain the pasta and return it to the pot it was cooked in.
While the pasta is cooking, season chicken pieces with salt and ground black pepper. Heat a large skillet with one turn of the pan of EVOO, add the chicken and sauté until golden brown and cooked through, about 6 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, scoop the avocado flesh into a small bowl and squeeze the juice of the lemon over it, tossing to coat.
When the chicken is finished cooking, add garlic to the pan, cook for 1 minute, then sprinkle in a few dashes of hot sauce and toss to coat.
In a large serving bowl, mash cooked tomatoes together with scallions, add the pasta water and pasta.
Top with chicken, crumble the cooked bacon over it, and toss with the avocado, blue cheese, basil and parsley.