Monday, April 16, 2012

Knock-off Noodles Penne Skillet

I LOVE Penne Rosa at Noodles.

Here's my attempt to recreate it - and my family loves it, so knock-off or not, it's a keeper for us.  I tried to quantify the amounts as much as I could, but sometimes, just throwing a handful of something in works, too! 

I made a big batch, so we had some leftovers for lunch - it's fab reheated.  You could easily feed a crowd by making a larger batch and serving family-style. You could also make this vegetarian by omitting the chicken - you won't miss it. 

Knock-off Noodles Penne Skillet

8 oz. white button mushrooms, sliced (diced for my family - they need them small!)
1 bunch fresh baby spinach leaves (I used a container of Organic Girl I had), chopped
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 box (12-16 oz.)  penne pasta (I used whole grain)
1/2 to 3/4 c. half & half (or heavy cream if you like to splurge)*
1 c. Arrabiata pasta sauce*
1/2 c. Feta cheese crumbles (I used Athenos reduced fat)
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced (we like lots)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into about 1" pieces
Extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

*I "free-poured", so I'm guessing on amounts here - you don't need a lot of the half & half to get the desired effect, and the pasta sauce is to your liking. 

While pasta water is heating up, do your prep - the dish moves fairly quickly.  First, wash and chop up your veggies.  Cook your pasta when the water boils, to al dente.  Drain and remove from heat.  Then cut up your chicken pieces, being careful not to cross-contaminate.  In a large skillet (I have a giant one), heat some EVOO (about 1 tbsp.) over medium-high heat, and brown your chicken pieces (remember not to fuss with them so you get a nice golden color and "crust").

Remove the chicken, then add in your mushrooms, and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add in onions, and about a minute later, the garlic.  Season a little bit here with salt & pepper, and then add the veggies to chicken plate.  I tossed in my finished noodles, just to give them a little color and "crunch", and then added back the chicken and veggies.  Add the arrabiata sauce, and gently toss to coat.  Just before serving, pour in the half & half, and heat the dish through.  Remove from heat, and sprinkle Feta cheese over top, and serve.

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