This was kind of an experiment. I didn't want to leave the house to shop, but I still wanted a delicious dinner. Armed with pantry ingredients, I ended up creating a pretty darn tasty sauce to serve over pasta.
You need (for 4 servings):
8 oz pasta of your choice (I used penne)
8 sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil - dry)
3 tbs olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 large chicken breast (mine was 12 oz)
1/4 c shredded basil leaves
freshly ground pepper
1 c water or chicken stock, divided
3 tbs cream cheese (optional)
freshly snipped chives (optional but lovely)
1. Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in 1/2 c water for about 30 minutes, or until they are soft.
2. Drain the tomatoes, reserving the soaking water. Place the tomatoes and the garlic and 1 tbs of olive oil (and a tbs of the soaking water if you need it) in a food processor and process until almost smooth (some chunks are good and tasty!).
3. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 2 tbs olive oil over medium heat. When the pan is hot, brown the chicken on both sides and set aside. Pour the soaking water from the tomatoes into the pan and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Let simmer while you slice up your browned chicken breast into bite-sized slices. This would be a good time to start boiling your pasta water.
4. Return the chicken to the pan along with the tomato puree. Allow the chicken to cook through with the tomatoes. This would be a good time to cook your pasta. When the past is almost done lower the heat and add the cream cheese, if using, and the chives, pepper to taste, and the basil.
5. When the cream cheese has mixed in and your pasta is cooked, drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce. If it is too thick, add some liquid until you get the consistency you like. Pasta water is good for this, or stock. Serve with a sprig of basil on top, if you like!