Friday, October 24, 2008

Basil Chicken over Angel Hair Pasta

This is a very basic pasta dish that is great for weeknights. The flavors in it are classic - garlic, onion, tomato and basil. I adapted the recipe slightly to suit my tastes. I love basil, so I added three times as much basil to this :) I also love spicy food, so I added extra pepper (of course if you don't care for the additional heat, just omit the hot pepper sauce). While I did add some heavy cream to this to balance out some of the acidity from the tomatoes, it is still a very light meal.

You can use dried basil (4 teaspoons) if you don't have any fresh basil on hand, but it really won't taste as good. If you hate paying an arm and a leg for fresh basil at the grocery store, there are two lower cost alternatives. The first is to find your local Asian grocery store. If you live in a decently sized city, chances are you have some local Asian grocery stores around. There, you can get a huge bundle of basil (30+ leaves) for $1 versus the $2-3 you pay at your neighborhood grocery store for 8-10 leaves of basil. The other way to get cheap basil is to plant your own. I bought a tiny little starter basil plant a few months ago (for $3), and it has grown so much now that I have enough basil to cook something with it once a week. Don't worry if you don't have a green thumb - I don't either and mine hasn't died yet ;) For tips on how to grow an herb garden, click here.

Save time and money by using canned, diced tomatoes in this instead of fresh. You can also save time by cooking the chicken ahead of time. That way, all you have to do is throw the sauce together while the pasta is cooking.

This is my submission to the weekly Presto Pasta Nights, hosted by Ruth over at Once Upon a Feast.

Basil Chicken over Angel Hair Pasta from Allrecipes

1 (8 ounce) package angel hair pasta
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (I used a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained) 2 cups boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and cubed (I poached my chicken*)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (I used 3/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (I used about 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes) 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

* To poach your chicken, put the chicken breast halves in a large saucepan and add lightly salted water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. You can do this with frozen chicken breasts, too.

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook angel hair pasta until it is al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and garlic. Stir in the tomatoes, chicken, basil, salt and hot pepper sauce. Reduce heat to medium, and cover skillet. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture is hot and tomatoes are soft.

Toss sauce with hot cooked angel hair pasta to coat. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Yield: 4 Servings


  1. What a beautiful dish. I love all the flavors. As for favorite herb...even though there are a few Asian markets here, none carry fresh basil and I have no garden :-(, even the indoor pots don't last very long...sigh

    Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Night.

  2. Can't go wrong with simple, satisfying pasta dishes!

  3. Not only does that look absolutely scrumptious, but that first pic is SUCH a tease! I want to pick up that fork and dig right in!

  4. Wow this pasta looks so yumm. Will try them once.

  5. Pasta is always so tasty. I love angel hair and the cheese on top too!!

  6. That's my kind of weeknight meal! Yum!

  7. A simple go-to dinner, one I make very similarly at least once a week (I vary the pasta). Looks yummy. Wish my basil plant outside on the deck hadn't died yet from the cooler weather. Loved just going outside and grabbing a little here and there when I needed it.

  8. Great combination of flavors! I like the addition of fresh tomatoes too as opposed to a tomato sauce.

  9. What a beautiful simple dish! I'm marking this for one of my week night meals.

  10. I can eat pasta anytime....looks like a great dish...

  11. This looks delicious- what a great meal! I love basil and spicy foods, so this would go over well with us. We've had a basil plant since April, and it's so nice to have fresh basil when we need it!

  12. What a beautiful dinner, I'm going to start growing herbs, I've never attempted to do it before but i really want to try!

  13. That pasta dish looks delicious! I agree.. Asian markets are the best when it comes to lower cost alternatives. Once I was able to buy like 20 tomatos for 2 dollars.. they were extremely ripe though, but it made a really delicious tomato soup!

  14. Quick, easy and delicious, and very satisfying meal. I can easily be happy with meal like this.

  15. very nice! i don't know why, but angel hair is by far my pasta of choice. :)

  16. I love pasta dishes like this! Easy to prepare yet full of flavors! :)

  17. Looks grat - and I love the use of basil here.