pasta with chicken, cream, and tomatoes

i'm weird about only eating certain foods in certain times of the year. i like my food to match the season. when it's one of those dark, bone chilling cold february days, the last thing i want for dinner is a big, cold, crunchy salad. not only are the vegetables not in season, but who wants to eat a cold dinner in the middle of winter?! same goes for summer. i don't want a nice, warm, comforting bowl of pasta when it's a sticky, humid 90 degrees out in july. more than anything, i surprised myself when i made this back in june.

it was one of those nights where the both of us came home late for work, are dog tired, and we have nothing but milk and yogurt in the refrigerator. luckily we had a renegade chicken breast stuck in the back door of the freezer and i always keep a can of crushed tomatoes on hand, just for nights like this.

canned crushed - diced work well too - tomatoes make a super easy sauce that can be jazzed up any way you like. don't like the cream? skip it. you'd rather have more garlic? go for it, because you can never really have too much garlic. skip the chicken if you'd like. want more vegetables? add grated carrot and/or zucchini. the carrot adds an ever so slight sweetness and you won't realize you're eating those or the zucchini.

and i think this is the first time ever i've eaten pasta outside.

pasta with chicken, cream, and tomatoes
45 minutes start to finish, serves 4

1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
1 chicken breast, sliced thin
1/2 pound penne pasta
1/2 cup half & half
8-10 basil leaves, thinly sliced
  1. while preparing the sauce, cook the pasta according to the package directions.
  2. coat the bottom of a saute pan with olive oil and place it over medium heat. add the onion and garlic and saute until transparent, about 8 minutes.
  3. add the crushed tomatoes and season with salt & pepper. bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low.
  4. add the chicken and stir, making sure the pieces aren't stuck to each other. continue to simmer the sauce an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until thickened.
  5. mix in the half & half and basil. stir in the pasta and serve.

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