Linguine with Deconstructed Marinara Sauce and Chicken

It's week 3 of the new semester and I'm deep in my thesis writing, not to mention the fact that I've started teaching a new class, microbiology. I'm enjoying teaching something new and relishing the fact that I'm in my last semester of my master's, but all these new responsibilities leave me weary by the time I get home at night. To lift my spirits, I decided to prepare what I consider to be soul food---and for me, that's anything to do with pasta. While I wanted to feel comforted with my favorite carbohydrate, but I also wanted to keep the recipe light and healthy so as not to undo my day of healthy eating.
I started out with whole wheat linguine, and as we all know whole wheat pasta has more fiber and nutrients than regular pasta. White meat chicken and a little Parmesan cheese provided protein. I really didn't want to fuss with a sauce...the thought of all that sauteing, stirring, and simmering just made me feel more exhausted. Instead, I pulled together the components of marinara sauce---tomatoes, basil, olive oil, garlic---and made a deconstructed pasta sauce with fresh, whole ingredients instead of a sauce that would take a long time to stew together. This is a delicious and simple to prepare version of pasta with tomato sauce, but the freshness of the ingredients made it perfect for summer. Fresh grape tomatoes were substituted for canned tomatoes, and just as in my Spicy Thai Basil Chicken recipe, I used fresh basil not as just a flavor enhancer but almost as another vegetable---a leafy green, for example. I left the basil in big pieces, which perfumed my kitchen. The fragrance was definitely restorative.

Linguine with Deconstructed Marinara Sauce and Chicken
Printable Recipe

1/2 lb whole wheat linguine
4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
12 oz cooked chicken breast, shredded into large pieces
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup + 4 tbsp Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup reserved pasta cooking water
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions in salted, boiling water.
2. Meanwhile, add the oil to a large, cold skillet, then add the garlic to the oil. Heat the pan to medium, stirring the garlic to keep it from burning. Add the tomatoes, chicken breast, and broth, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the tomatoes soften slightly and the chicken becomes warm.
3. Add the cooked pasta to the tomato mixture as well as the basil and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan; add enough pasta water to completely moisten the pasta. Cook only until the basil begins to slightly wilt.
4. Serve the pasta with the remaining cheese.

Servings per recipe: 4
Per serving:
Calories: 414 
Fat: 12.3 g 
Saturated fat: 3.6 g 
Cholesterol: 124 mg 
Sodium: 267 mg 
Carbohydrates: 35.7 g 
Fiber: 3 g
Sugar: 2.1 g 
Protein: 38.5 g

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