Mediterranean Chicken Pasta

Circle B Kitchen

This is one of our family’s traditional go-to pastas.  Use whatever kind of pasta you like, but short pasta works better as opposed to spaghetti or linguini.  Campanelle is my default shape for this, but bowties (farfalle) work great too.  You can leave out the chicken or substitute with tofu or shrimp.  Throw in some kale instead of the spinach, if you like.  It's all good!

1 pound pasta, such as campanelle, cooked to al dente (1 minute less than box instructions)
1 lb of chicken breasts (or thighs)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ cup white wine
2 cups diced tomatoes (cherry tomatoes or romas)
A good handful or two of fresh baby spinach leaves (optional)
1 can artichoke hearts in water, drained, quartered
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted (1/4 pound)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil
½ cup toasted pine nuts
 1 ½ cups grated parmesan cheese
1 cup pasta water, reserved from cooking the pasta

Prep Work...

Slice, dice or otherwise cut up your chicken breasts or thighs into large-ish bite-sized pieces
Cook the pasta in lots of boiling, salted water for 1 minute less than the box directions.  Reserve 1cup of the cooking water right before draining the pasta.          Do not rinse.
Mince the shallots and the garlic
Chop the tomatoes and quarter the artichokes
Toast the pinenuts
Slice the Kalamata olives

Instructions:
Heat oil in a skillet over medium or medium high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then add it to the pan. Saute until just cooked through.  Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Add a little more olive oil to the pan if needed, and then add the shallots and garlic to the skillet. Sauté on medium heat for 2 minutes.   Add dried basil, oregano, crushed red pepper and garlic, and sauté for a couple more minutes and then add wine to the pan.  Simmer for 2 minutes and then add the tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and feta cheese to the skillet. Simmer for another minute.  Add the chicken back to the pan and stir to combine.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and add the pasta cooking water as necessary to create a creamy sauce.  Toss to coat the pasta.  Stir in the spinach, if using, and then cover the pan and let it sit off the heat for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb the sauce a little.  

To serve, pour the pasta into a large serving bowl, top with parmesan, fresh basil and toasted pine nuts.