It’s hard to believe this company-worthy dish comes together in just 20 minutes, but it does. The bright green pesto and colorful tomatoes make a beautiful plate that’s begging to be enjoyed even on the busiest of weeknights.
This dish is a great way to use up a bumper crop of tomatoes and herbs. Tender fresh linguine works well with the pesto, but you can use dried pasta as well. A hot pasta dish does not always have to be loaded down with sausage, cheese, and a heavy sauce. Lighten it up and try this quick and easy Chicken Caprese Pasta, which is lightly flavored with a bright pesto made from fresh basil, parsley, and chives. When making any type of pasta dish, however, one simple trick will take the dish from good to great. The key to making great tasting pasta is in the cooking water. Add about 2 tablespoons of kosher salt to a large stockpot of boiling water. When the pasta is cooked, reserve a cup or two of cooking water (the exact amount is usually specified in the recipe) before draining the pasta. When combined with the other recipe ingredients, the salty, starchy liquid seasons your homemade sauce, gives it a silky texture and helps it cling to the noodles. Don’t rinse the pasta or you will wash away more of the good starch. Follow recipe directions and add the pasta water a little at a time, stirring until the sauce is rich and smooth.
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into 1/2-inch pieces
How to Make It
Cook pasta according to package directions in a large Dutch oven, adding salt once water comes to a boil. Drain pasta, reserving 1 1/2 cups cooking water.
Wipe Dutch oven clean, and add olive oil. Heat oil over medium-high. Add tomatoes to hot oil, and cook, stirring often, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add shallot, and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in garlic; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
Add chicken, pasta, Fresh Herb Pesto, and 1/2 cup of reserved cooking water to tomato mixture, stirring to combine. Gradually stir in remaining cooking water, 1/4 cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Transfer to a serving platter, and sprinkle with basil and mozzarella. Serve immediately.